Some electric cars, like the Hummer EV, can pollute more than thermal sedans. But it all depends on the country in which they are driven!
A few days ago, the American organization ACEEE wrote an interesting article on the pollution of the 100% electric Hummer EV. American researchers point to the fact that the American behemoth emits more greenhouse gases than some thermal sedans! And this is not even due to the design of its gigantic battery (213 kWh), but because of the CO2 emissions from recharging it.
Indeed, an electric car does not emit greenhouse gases during its rolling phase. The only times when it can emit CO2 is when it is produced and when it is recharged. For a thermal car, it’s different, since in addition to emitting CO2 during its manufacturing phase, it also emits it with each kilometer traveled, during the combustion of its fuel (gasoline, diesel, LPG, etc.). .), but also during the manufacture and transport of the latter.
Not all electricity is created equal
Let’s take a concrete example with this Hummer EV. In the United States, the production of one kilowatt hour of electricity leads, on average, to the emission of 385 g CO2eq. In France, it’s 53 g CO2eq/kWh against 29 g in Sweden and… 700 grams in Poland! This is explained by the energy mix. In France, we can rely mainly on nuclear and renewable energies, while in the United States and Poland, gas and coal are still very present. Sure, as countries open up low-carbon production capacities (photovoltaic, wind, hydro and nuclear), these figures will decrease. Poland is on the right track even if it still has a lot of work to do.
Consumption 3 times higher than a Tesla!
Still, with its autonomy, on the American EPA cycle, of 530 km for a 212.7 kWh battery, the Hummer EV has a gargantuan consumption of around 40 kWh / 100 km! To be compared to the EPA consumption of a Tesla Model 3 Propulsion of 14 kWh / 100 km thanks to its EPA autonomy of 438 km allowed by its “small” 60 kWh battery.
Thus, each kilometer traveled in a Hummer EV requires 0.4 kWh of electricity compared to 0.14 kWh for the “small” Model 3. In other words, the electric Hummer consumes almost 3 times more than the Tesla! If we do the calculation with the CO2 emitted for each kWh of electricity produced in the United States, we arrive with emissions of 154 g CO2eq per kilometer traveled with the Hummer EV compared to 54 g for the Tesla .
Worse, in being recharged in Poland, the American monster would emit 280 g CO2eq per kilometeragainst 98 g for Elon Musk’s car. In France and Sweden, the Tesla would emit, due to its recharging, respectively 7 and 4 g CO2eq against 21 and 12 g CO2eq for the Hummer.
The Hummer EV finally cleaner than thermal cars?
By way of comparison, current new thermal cars are around 100 g of CO2 per km and Europe compared to double (200 g) in the United States. The old thermal Hummer, the H1, emitted 889 g of CO2 / km! A thermal Ford F-150 EcoBoost 2.7 L V6 emits 252 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilometer.
In other words, a Hummer EV charged in Poland and the United States pollutes more than many internal combustion cars, but if driven and plugged in in France and Sweden, it will pollute less than any internal combustion car.
And to go even further, it would be necessary to take into account the energy spent for the extraction and transport of gasoline and diesel. That’s what did Transport & Environment with an interactive tool. Thus, in Poland, an electric car emits approximately 140 g of CO2 per kilometer, taking into account its entire production cycle, compared to 231 g per kilometer for its thermal equivalent.
This is what allows the NGO to announce what ” in the worst scenario, an electric car whose battery was produced in China and driven in Poland emits 37% less CO2 than a thermal car. In the best case, an electric car whose battery was produced in Sweden and driven in the same country emits 83% less CO2 than its thermal counterpart« .
The infographic below, which comes to us from Quartz, gives an idea of the energy consumption of each vehicle in the United States. The higher the car is on the graph, the more energy it consumes, and therefore emits CO2.
Do not forget the manufacture of batteries
Of course, to be exhaustive, it should be remembered that the manufacture of lithium batteries for electric cars is very resource-intensive, and therefore indirectly emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But manufacturing processes are changing, whether through recycling (92% at Tesla) or even the energy used to manufacture these gigantic batteries.
As we saw above, according to the latest published studies, even when driving electric in a country whose energy mix uses a lot of fossil fuels — such as Poland or the United States — the electric car will emit less greenhouse gases and pollutants during its life (from its manufacture to its recycling) than its thermal equivalent.
But as we can see with this practical case, however, electric vehicle manufacturers should not fall into excess, so that they have the least possible impact on the planet. And it goes through reducing car fuel consumption, whether by reducing their weight while increasing their aerodynamics, whether by their shape — sedans have less wind resistance than an SUV — or by the various integrated technologies (heat pump, engine optimization, etc.) .). Enough to reduce the capacity of the batteries, their weight and therefore the consumption of the car.
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