Electric Cars Are Always Cleaner, Says EV Enthusiast


The last two years have seen an amazing growth in the popularity of electric vehicles, with the launch of Nissan’s LEAF and the Chevy Volt. One of the moot points related to EVs is how sustainable they are. To be sure, if EVs are fed with renewable energy, they will be greener. But what if the electricity powering an electric car comes from coal?

An electric car enthusiast took the time to prove that even in those cases, the amount of emissions produced is smaller than that of a gas-powered car. According to Green Car Reports, Mark D. Larsen took into consideration several variables to arrive at his conclusion. These included the efficiency of the charging station, the grid efficiency of the power transmission from the power station to his home, and the carbon dioxide output of a dirty coal power plant. He concluded that his 2012 Nissan Leaf emitted 42,665 grams of carbon dioxide per 100 miles traveled.

In contrast, a gas-powered vehicle would emit 50,332 grams of carbon dioxide for the same distance covered, Larsen says. He took into account the 6 kilowatt-hours of electricity used to refine one gallon of gasoline, the carbon dioxide ‘dirty coal’ footprint of that electricity and the actual carbon dioxide emissions from the car’s engine.

What do we take from this? Even in the worst case scenario – when electricity comes from coal – an electric vehicle is 15 percent cleaner than its gasoline counterpart. Coal accounts for 45 percent of the electricity produced in the United States. In the remaining 55 percent, electric cars would fare a lot better in terms of emissions.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

  • http://www.alke.com/off-road-vehicles alke

    is very interesting to know that also if the electricity powering an electric car comes from coal these vehicles are always cleaner

  • http://www.alke.com/off-road-vehicles click

    The company Alke is an Italian company that deals with the design, prototyping, production and sale of electric vehicles ensuring the most high quality standards.

    The advantages of an electric car or an electric vehicle are both of a technical and economic.

  • http://www.sevaa.com Sevaa

    The article is clearly written and every point is factual and is no-nonsense.It’s amazing just how interesting it is now a days you can atleast find ways to help the environment.