Research has shown that electric cars are better for the environment. They emit fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants than petrol or diesel cars. And this takes into account their production and electricity generation to keep them running. If you're already set on an electric car, check out our leasing deals - best cars and great prices. The major benefit of electric cars is the contribution that they can make towards improving air quality in towns and cities. With no tailpipe, pure electric cars produce no carbon dioxide emissions when driving.
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Do something for our planet, print this page only if needed. Even a small action can make an enormous difference when millions of people do it! Skip to content. Skip to navigation. If you have forgotten your password, we can send you a new one. The growth in electric vehicle use will result in extra energy demand in the European Union EU : Europe's total electricity consumption by electric vehicles will increase from approximately 0.
Emissions from road vehicles also contribute to high concentrations of air pollutants in many European cities, which often don't meet air quality standards set by the EU and the World Health Organization WHO.
The potential of renewable energy sources to power electric vehicles can contribute to a considerable decarbonisation of the future road transport sector and improved resource efficiency. It also has associated co-benefits in terms of reduced air pollution. However, the extent to which this may occur varies greatly by country, in terms of how the demand for additional electricity for electric vehicles can be accommodated.
The assessment commissioned by the EEA explored the future impacts of greater electric vehicle use upon the EU's energy system, and associated emissions from the road transport and energy sectors. Two scenarios were explored: 1. The resulting changes in energy demand and CO 2 and selected air pollutant emissions were quantified. Other sectors and their potential future reductions in energy demand were not taken into account.
The share of Europe's total electricity consumption from electric vehicles will increase from approximately 0. The additional electricity demand due to the high rates of electric vehicle ownership assumed for the future will need to be met by additional power generation. Furthermore, this additional energy needs to be integrated into the grid infrastructure across Europe. Critical questions are therefore how much electricity is needed, what type of generation is used to cover this additional electricity demand and how are charging peaks managed?
Until , the additional energy demand by electric vehicles will be limited and will not significantly influence the electricity system. But, in the longer term, with high market shares of electric vehicles assumed in , the required electricity demand will have more significant impact on power systems in Europe. On average, for the EU, the proportion of total electricity demand required in is 9. Overall, an additional electrical capacity of GW will be needed to charge electric cars. The integration of the additional energy demand caused by electric vehicles poses challenges for the management of power systems at local, national and European levels.
High shares of electric vehicles will require significant additional electricity generation which, in the absence of coordinated investment, may put stress on electricity infrastructure. Even between countries with a similar share of renewable energy, management strategies to accommodate the charging of a large number of electric vehicles can be very different, depending on the types of renewable energy and conventional power generation in each country.
In countries with highly fluctuating renewable energy supplies, coordinating the energy demand from electric vehicles may become a major challenge.
It is clear, for example, that countries with high solar energy generation capacity, for which the preferred charging peak will be during the day, will need to apply different grid and power management strategies from countries that have only wind, or combined solar and wind electricity production.
In regions with a weak network infrastructure, additional grid reinforcement or implementation of specific 'smart charging' approaches might be required to ensure an efficient and flexible electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. Increasing the numbers of electric vehicles can significantly reduce direct emissions of CO 2 and air pollutants from road transport.
However, these positive effects are partially offset by additional emissions caused by the additional electricity required and continued fossil fuel use in the power sector projection inHowever, higher emissions would result from the associated fossil fuel combustion in the electricity-generating sector if reductions in electricity demand are not made in other sectors, e.
Overall, the avoided CO 2 emissions in the road transport sector outweigh the higher emissions from electricity generation. In countries with high shares of fossil fuel power plants, electric vehicle demand could, however, lead to higher CO 2 emissions. The environmental benefit of electric vehicles in these instances would therefore not be fully realised.
The situation is different for SO 2. The already relatively low SO 2 emissions from road transport, coupled with the use of coal in power generation, will result in additional SO 2 emissions, which exceed the reduction made in the road transport sector by a factor of 5.
Additional abatement of the higher SO 2 emissions would be required. The difference in emissions of air pollutants from the road transport sector and electricity generation cannot be compared directly in terms of their respective impacts on human health.
Their impact depends to a large degree on the location, intensity and type of emission sources. Emissions from road transport occur at ground level and generally in areas where people live and work, such as in cities and towns, so much of the population is exposed to them. In contrast, power stations are generally outside cities, in less populated areas. As a result of this lower exposure, a shift of emissions from the road transport sector to the power generation sector can therefore be beneficial for health.
A large share of electric vehicles on Europe's roads in the future will have implications for the electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. Integrating the additional electricity demand poses diverse challenges. It is important that the road transport and energy sectors become more closely coupled, and that policy and investment decisions across both sectors are closely integrated. Electric vehicles are just one way in which Europe can move towards a more resource efficient economy and decarbonised transport system.
Replacing conventional vehicles with electric vehicles can help reduce emissions, although how much it helps depends significantly upon the source of the electricity used to charge vehicles: renewable, nuclear power or fossil fuel sources. However, simply replacing conventional vehicles will not solve other transport-related problems such as growing congestion and increasing demand for road infrastructure.
This will help achieve the EU's commitment to a more resource efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy. Briefing no. Software updated on 06 December from versionCode for developers. Systems Status. Legal notice. Creative commons license. CMS login. Toggle navigation Skip to content. Advanced search A-Z Glossary. Error Cookies are not enabled. You must enable cookies before you can log in.
Topics: Transport Energy Air pollution. A fundamental change within the road transport sector is required if Europe wants to achieve its objective of a long-term transition to a low-carbon European economy.
Electric vehicles charged with electricity from renewable sources can reduce future emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from road transport. This briefing based on an assessment carried out on behalf of the EEA presents the key implications for emissions and Europe's energy system arising from the potential wide-scale use of electric cars inAn increase in electric vehicle use will result in: lower CO 2 and air pollutant emissions from the road transport sector itself; higher emissions from associated electricity production; an overall net benefit in terms of lower emissions of carbon dioxide CO 2 and the air pollutants nitrogen oxides NO x and particulate matter PM ; an overall increase in sulphur dioxide SO 2 due to emissions from the electricity-generating sector.
Approach The assessment commissioned by the EEA explored the future impacts of greater electric vehicle use upon the EU's energy system, and associated emissions from the road transport and energy sectors. Figure 1: Electric vehicle energy demand as a percentage of total electricity demand in Meeting the additional electricity demand. Photo credits: c Tobias Terman Olsen. Identifiers Briefing no.
Related content Sort by: Publishing date Title. Interactive charts Data Visualization Future changes in CO2 emissions in the energy and road transport sectors. Data Visualization Electric vehicle energy demand as a fraction of total electricity demand per country inArticle Electric vehicles: moving towards a sustainable mobility system Modern society depends on the movement of goods and people, but our current transport systems have negative impacts on human health and the environment.
News Electric vehicles will help the shift toward EU's green transport future A large scale roll-out of electric cars on European roads would result in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower levels of certain air pollutants, according to a European Environment Agency EEA assessment released today. Publication Electric vehicles in Europe This report provides a non-technical summary of the latest information on electric road vehicles in Europe, including those with hybrid technologies.
It focuses upon electric passenger vehicles, explaining the different types that are now available on the market, how each type works, and their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Publication Electric vehicles and the energy sector - impacts on Europe's future emissions A fundamental change within the road transport sector is required if Europe wants to achieve its objective of a long-term transition to a low-carbon European economy. Publication Air quality in Europe — report This report presents an updated overview and analysis of air quality in Europe.
It is focused in the state in and the development from toIt reviews progress towards meeting the requirements of the air quality directives. An overview of the latest findings and estimates of the effects of air pollution on health and its impacts on ecosystems is also given. Temporal coverageTopics Topics: Transport Energy Air pollution.
Tags Filed under: transport emissions electric cars. Filed under: transport emissions , electric cars. Document Actions Share with others. Follow us Sign up to receive our news notifications and our quarterly e-newsletter. Contact us Kongens Nytorv 6 Copenhagen K. Ask your question Media enquiries. Biodiversity Information System for Europe. Climate Adaptation Platform. Copernicus In Situ. Copernicus in situ component. Copernicus Land.
The long tailpipe is an argument stating that usage of electric vehicles does not always result in fewer emissions e. While the argument acknowledges that plug-in electric vehicles operating in all-electric mode have no greenhouse gas emissions from the onboard source of power, it claims that these emissions are shifted from the vehicle tailpipe to the location of the electrical generation plants. From the point of view of a well-to-wheel assessment , the extent of the actual carbon footprint depends on the fuel and technology used for electricity generation , as well as the impact of additional electricity demand on the phase-out of fossil fuel power plants. Plug-in electric vehicles PEVs operating in all-electric mode do not emit greenhouse gases from the onboard source of power but emissions are shifted to the location of the generation plants.
“A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused directly an average of pounds of CO2e is released at the power plant.8 Coal.
Please complete the this form to have access to file, once submitted the file will load on the browser window. The tool draws on the most up-to-date data to allow users to compare the vehicles in several different scenarios based on vehicle segment, where the battery was produced, and in what country the car was driven. The tool also allows users to compare cars driven in and , when the EU electricity grid will be even cleaner. The most up-to-date data shows that electric cars in the EU emit almost three times less CO2 on average. If European governments are serious about decarbonising during the crisis recovery, they must speed up the transition to electric vehicles. With cars emitting a sizeable proportion of global greenhouse gases, e-vehicles are increasingly seen as the solution, and are being promoted by the EU. However, there have been suggestions that, when cradle-to-grave emissions are taken into account, including emissions from generating the electricity that powers e-vehicles, EVs perform no better than petrol and diesel cars, and sometimes worse. Now an independent study by academics from the universities of Nijmegen, Exeter and Cambridge has analysed current and future emissions trade-offs involving electric cars and household heat pumps in 59 world regions. The study, published in the Nature Sustainability journal, specifically addresses the current carbon intensity of electricity generation.
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Inasmuch as hybrid and all-electric vehicles have become more popular, it is worth asking if the energy used and thus CO 2 emitted to make electric motors and lithium batteries is greater than that emitted during the production of gasoline engines for conventional vehicles, potentially discounting the advantages of electric vehicles in mitigating the potential for climate change.
Hybrid electric vehicles HEVs , plug-in hybrid electric vehicles PHEVs , and all-electric vehicles EVs typically produce lower tailpipe emissions than conventional vehicles do. When measuring well-to-wheel emissions, the electricity source is important: for PHEVs and EVs, part or all of the power provided by the battery comes from off-board sources of electricity. There are emissions associated with the majority of electricity production in the United States. EVs and PHEVs running only on electricity have zero tailpipe emissions, but emissions may be produced by the source of electrical power, such as a power plant. In geographic areas that use relatively low-polluting energy sources for electricity generation, PHEVs and EVs typically have lower emissions well-to-wheel than similar conventional vehicles running on gasoline or diesel.
All-electric vehicles EVs run on electricity only. They are propelled by one or more electric motors powered by rechargeable battery packs. EVs have several advantages over conventional vehicles:. Batteries for EVs are designed for extended life, and a study by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggest these batteries may last 12 to 15 years in moderate climates and 8 to 12 years in severe climates. However, these batteries are expensive, and replacing them may be costly if they fail. Benefits and Considerations of Electricity as a Vehicle Fuel. Department of Energy and the U.
coal-fired EGUs, and a standard of either 1, or 1, lbs/MWh (depending on size) for new natural gas-fired plants. Coal-fired plants.
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of electric cars versus fossil fuel cars in the context of lithium mining. Please can you tell me which one weighs in better on the environmental impact in terms of global warming and why?RELATED VIDEO: Energy 101: Natural Gas Power Plants
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Although electricity is a clean and relatively safe form of energy when it is used, the generation and transmission of electricity affects the environment. Nearly all types of electric power plants have an effect on the environment, but some power plants have larger effects than others. The United States has laws that govern the effects that electricity generation and transmission have on the environment. The Clean Air Act regulates air pollutant emissions from most power plants. The U. The Clean Air Act has helped to substantially reduce emissions of some major air pollutants in the United States. All power plants have a physical footprint the location of the power plant.
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