CO2 production by electric cars

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  • CO2 production by electric cars
  • Premier Icon votchy
    Subscriber

    A little googling about regarding the amount of electricity to charge battery vs range vs CO2 produced in production of electricity and using the 15% renewable that the US and UK currently use means a Tesla S produces 127g of CO2 per km, just thought you might be interested.

    natrix
    Member

    That seems like a lot. According to https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/vehicles/cars_en
    The average emissions level of a new car sold in 2016 was 118.1 grams of CO2 per kilometre

    wobbliscott
    Member

    The amount of CO2 produced during the charging of cars is not the issue. The assumption is that over time we’ll transition to cleaner forms of electrical production that will reduce this element of their carbon footprint to virtually zero.

    The real issue is the carbon footprint of the production of the batteries. The rare earth elements are mined (a lot dirtier than pumping oil/gas from the ground), then the raw materials/ore is shipped (about the filthiest form of transportation we’ve been able to muster) half way around the world to be processed (again a pretty filthy process in its own right utilising lots of nasty chemicals, a lot of energy and emissions), before being shipped halfway around the earth again to the battery manufacturing plant, then the batteries shipped halfway around the world again to where the cars are manufactured/assembled.

    Then you’ve got the problem of battery recycling/disposal at the other end of the life cycle.

    Then you’ve got the fact that in order to eek more and more range out of the cars you need to make them lighter which pushes you to producing more of the car using carbon fibre.

    Conventional cars are assembled from parts mostly manufactured relatively locally so has a much smaller carbon footprint…apparently.

    So it’s a complex picture. However I still think the future is EV. For one they’ll address a lot of the issues mentioned above as the global infrastructure develops and technology matures – conventional car manufactures have been at this for over 100 years now so EV’s have some catching up to do. Also it’s not just CO2 you need to consider, but more importantly air quality and not pumping out poisonous and toxic fumes into our cities which is killing, or bringing about premature deaths to, 10,000 people a year just in the UK.

    I suspect our next cars will be EV’s or at least hybrids.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Fix your electricity production then is the answer.

    sharkbait
    Member

    The average emissions level of a new car sold in 2016 was 118.1 grams of CO2 per kilometre

    but I bet that will not include the CO2 produced while creating the fuel in the first place, so the real figure would be much higher.

    mrmonkfinger
    Member

    Still, the sun shines out your backside while you’re driving the thing. I’ve seen South Park.

    mrmonkfinger
    Member

    On a serious note, it does move most of the nasty emissions out of city centres where they are likely to be most used.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    batteries are more of a CO2 sink to make than a regular engine, but its only 15% more and thats easily offset by the reduction in CO2 use over the lifetime of the battery

    batteries are mostly lithium, which is harvested from salt flats & dried out by the sun, its the much smaller amount of rare-eart metals that are more costly

    http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2015/11/Cleaner-Cars-from-Cradle-to-Grave-full-report.pdf

    battery recycling is a bigger challenge but companies now stepping in EU & now Canada & China have just introduced law to make recycling them responsibility of manufacturers

    https://www.ft.com/content/c489382e-6b06-11e7-bfeb-33fe0c5b7eaa

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    but I bet that will not include the CO2 produced while creating the fuel in the first place, so the real figure would be much higher.

    Indeed, just refining it is an enormously power-hungry process. No big surprise that oil refineries and power stations are often in the same places. And then there’s getting it out of the ground, getting it to the refinery (often via ship) and on to the petrol station (often via truck) before it gets to your fuel tank to be burned at 118g/km.

    submarined
    Member

    Indeed, just refining it is an enormously power-hungry process. No big surprise that oil refineries and power stations are often in the same places. And then there’s getting it out of the ground, getting it to the refinery (often via ship) and on to the petrol station (often via truck) before it gets to your fuel tank to be burned at 118g/km.

    Allt his often conveniently overlooked by the anti electric car people.
    And then if you offset it against the UK’s increase in green energy production it becomes even more complex.
    So, for instance, if you’re like the guy down the road who charges his electric car from solar panels and the windmill in his garden, and puts the waste energy he doesn’t use back into the grid, then the OP’s argument is even less valid.

    Andy_K
    Member

    Yes, lack of apples to apples in the first couple of posts already spotted.

    The CO2 production of IC engines does of course not include the considerable refining costs.

    retro83
    Member

    submarined – Member
    Indeed, just refining it is an enormously power-hungry process. No big surprise that oil refineries and power stations are often in the same places. And then there’s getting it out of the ground, getting it to the refinery (often via ship) and on to the petrol station (often via truck) before it gets to your fuel tank to be burned at 118g/km.

    Allt his often conveniently overlooked by the anti electric car people.
    And then if you offset it against the UK’s increase in green energy production it becomes even more complex.
    So, for instance, if you’re like the guy down the road who charges his electric car from solar panels and the windmill in his garden, and puts the waste energy he doesn’t use back into the grid, then the OP’s argument is even less valid.

    But what about the co2 from making solar panels? ๐Ÿ™„

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Premier Icon votchy
    Subscriber

    then the OP’s argument is even less valid.

    What argument? It was purely a statement, no comparison or other was made. I am neither for nor against electric vehicles, I am fully aware of the other areas of CO2 production involved with vehicles and their fuels, I was just pondering aloud as it were ๐Ÿ™‚

    submarined
    Member

    But what about the co2 from making solar panels?

    Yup, and the C02 from his wood burners he uses for heating.

    What argument? It was purely a statement, I am neither for nor against electric vehicles, I am fully aware of the other areas of CO2 production involved with vehicles and their fuels, I was just pondering aloud as it were

    Sorry, I should have gone with ‘highly contentious faux-facts’ :p ๐Ÿ˜€

    CraigW
    Member

    How did you calculate that?
    UK electricity is now more like 30% renewable.

    Premier Icon votchy
    Subscriber

    Sorry, I should have gone with ‘highly contentious faux-facts’ :p

    Haha, thank you

    Premier Icon votchy
    Subscriber

    UK electricity is now more like 30% renewable.

    UK quoted as 20%, when I did my original calcs the figure I found was 15%, therefore recalculating my faux-facts gives 117g per km

    30% renewable predicted by 2020

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    Very silly thread with no understanding of science, facts, broader picture or the future, 3/10.

    Scotland was nearly 60% renewables last year anyway, and nuclear is also considered a low carbon energy source which is also a significant UK electricity source. A friend of mine has just had solar panels fitted to his roof and will soon be charging his tesla from it which is also a great idea.

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    Quite a lot of research shows it is no cleaner.

    However the government has air quality targets and the easiest way to achieve them is to get us driving electric cars. Doesn’t mean its right, just the easiest short term solution.

    I switched to a hybrid because I could lease one way cheaper than petrol/diesel.

    My next car will be electric because they are nicer to drive and cheaper to fuel.

    doris5000
    Member

    15% renewable is what it says on Wikipedia – but that’s a 2013 stat.

    Official stats for 2017 are on course for 30ish%

    wobbliscott
    Member

    EV technology has far more potential to be cleaner than fossil fuelled cars. They’re behind on the development and maturity curve and has to take into account the whole infrastructure and cradle to grave impact, rather than just focussing on service life, but if we do it properly then they have the potential to be far, far cleaner. There is very little more to come out of conventional fossil fuel cars/engines. Small percentage improvements, law of diminishing returns. We need to do something else to get a step change.

    There will always be a need for fossil fuelled cars, so may not be completely eradicated – specialist vehicles, vehicles that operate in remote and particularly harsh places and environments, and of course electric aircraft are a much more challenging proposition, although the airline industry is taking on the challenge full bore as it always does, have already flown electric test aircraft and are currently investing billions to develop a whole host of hybrid and electric technologies that will power airliners of the future.

    But as a first step moving to electric cars is relatively easy and a no brainer.

    Premier Icon one_bad_mofo
    Subscriber

    EV technology has far more potential to be cleaner than fossil fuelled cars.

    This may well be the case but are they ethical? People who are considering EVs may want to do a little research on the mining of cobalt and nickel, both of which are essential components in rechargeable batteries.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    This may well be the case but are they ethical? People who are considering EVs may want to do a little research on the mining of cobalt and nickel, both of which are essential components in rechargeable batteries.

    will they stop using mobiles, pcs & tablets too?

    ac282
    Member

    This may well be the case but are they ethical? People who are considering EVs may want to do a little research on the mining of cobalt and nickel, both of which are essential components in rechargeable batteries.

    Are they any worse than oil production and the states supported by it?

    Premier Icon votchy
    Subscriber

    So how did you calculate the CO2 emissions?

    kwh to charge battery including charger efficiency x CO2 g/kwh, divide this figure by EV range to give CO2/km and then minus renewable percentage = CO2/km. a rough calculation and was a result of me pondering what the CO2 output was for a Tesla S journey ignoring all other things in the same way the ICE vehicles have a CO2 g/km that is used for VED.

    No baby robins were harmed during this calculation ๐Ÿ˜€

    Premier Icon sam_underhill
    Subscriber

    Adding to the problem with not including CO2 from fuel production in the comparison…..
    I think there’s something I read / watched that said that if you took all of the electricity used to find / refine / deliver the fuel for your ICE car and used that to fill a battery, you’d go further than you do by using petrol.
    Which means petrol is just effectively a single use energy store which emits CO2.

    dirksdiggler
    Member

    co2 of a teslas power generation vs co2 output of an ice car is like comparing the energy needed to package a tin of baked beans vs the menthane in your farts after eating them. its not comparable

    philjunior
    Member

    Also it’s not just CO2 you need to consider, but more importantly air quality and not pumping out poisonous and toxic fumes into our cities which is killing, or bringing about premature deaths to, 10,000 people a year just in the UK

    There are emissions from any car, which cause air quality problems particularly when used in heavily trafficed areas, such as dust from brakes and tyres. If only there were some simple form of transport around town that had negligible CO2 output and minimised these forms of pollution as well as being far lighter and therefore using a tiny fraction of the energy to produce. Maybe you could reduce the number of wheels to 2 and get exercise whilst you travelled if you really wanted to make it awesome.
    Also, I’m fairly confident that the C02 output quoted for power generation excludes the costs of extraction and any refining (gas for instance). It may well be that this is less than the costs of producing petrol/diesel, but it won’t be zero added CO2 on either side of the coin (even renewables currently emit CO2 in order to build them in the first place).
    In the long run, I agree EVs will be more efficient and you have to start somewhere, but perhaps other things (good cycle infrastructure) would be a better target.

    dragon
    Member

    15% renewable is what it says on Wikipedia – but that’s a 2013 stat.

    Official stats for 2017 are on course for 30ish%

    Stats from where? I query it, as it doesn’t look like that from the National Grid status, more like 25-30% for wind, nuclear and others combined.

    CraigW
    Member

    The 2017 figures say 0.35156 kgCO2 / KWh (presumably an overall figure, including renewable) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors-2017

    A Tesla Model S has a 100KWh battery (add about 10% for charging inefficiency), and a range of 632km.
    So 110 * 0.35156 / 632 = 61 g/km

    Premier Icon irc
    Subscriber

    CraigW – Member

    29.8% in Q2 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/647386/Renewables.pdf

    Renewable percentages should be quoted for a year as it varies from summer to winter. In 2016 renewable electricity represented 24.6 per cent of total generation.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/633782/Chapter_6.pdf

    doris5000
    Member

    Stats from where? I query it, as it doesn’t look like that from the National Grid status, more like 25-30% for wind, nuclear and others combined.

    I was going by the DUKES report for Q2 this year at 29.8%(as linked by others) and something I read somewhere about how the trend is increasing quite handsomely – that was about 4% higher than q2 2016 so it’s really quite promising at the mo.

    But going on IRC’s post above, I looked up q1 2017 which was a bit lower at 26.6% (only 1% higher than q1 2016). Will be keen to see how it pans out.

    Either way, pretty impressive to think we’ve gone from c.15% to c.30% since 2013 ๐Ÿ™‚

    Premier Icon mick_r
    Subscriber

    Has anyone predicted an overall picture of how the grid / renewables / electricity metering will change to exploit all these EVs that will one day be plugged in? Seems like a dream situation for the National Grid where the end customer has supplied you with a huge battery storage facility FOC.

    sharkbait
    Member

    A friend of mine has just had solar panels fitted to his roof and will soon be charging his tesla from it which is also a great idea.

    Not during the winter he won’t

    doris5000
    Member

    Has anyone predicted an overall picture of how the grid / renewables / electricity metering will change to exploit all these EVs that will one day be plugged in? Seems like a dream situation for the National Grid where the end customer has supplied you with a huge battery storage facility FOC.

    that conversation is happening, and yes one of the options under discussion is basically what you suggest (but not quite FOC in this case:)

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/02/electric-car-battery-savings-nissan-leaf-ovo

    Premier Icon survivor
    Subscriber

    Robert Llewellyn covered this topic recently on his fully charged channel on YouTube.

    He was pretty unimpressed by the supposed “facts” used to produce the figures.

    [video]https://youtu.be/ELyGrIQTqjw[/video]

    Isnt the idea as well that charging of EVโ€™s can take place overnight when there is less conventional demand for electricity?

    wobbliscott
    Member

    Not sure I understand that carbon intensity chart. I understand what it’s trying to show, I think, but struggling to understand if it is bollox. What are the assumptions behind it? that all the cars are charged from the same source, driven in exactly the same way, on exactly the same roads, by the same driver in exactly the same conditions at exactly the same time to get accurate back to back comparisons? The idea that an Outlander PHEV, a bit hulk of pig iron about as aerodynamic as a brick generates less CO2 than a Nissan Leaf just doesn’t pass the sniff test. Especially when my mates one spent about 3 minutes of the journey on electric and the rest on the engine.

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