The Nissan LEAF has always been regarded as one of the greenest vehicles to hit the streets. The car has been known to have zero emissions, but a new study showed that the overall pollution the vehicle generates is almost as bad as a conventional diesel car.
According to Which? Car magazine, the amount of carbon dioxide that is created to generate the electricity that powers an EV, can be just as great as that created by the internal combustion engine.
A conventional car’s emissions come out of the vehicle’s exhaust pipe, while those created by an electric vehicle are generated at the power station which supplies the car’s electricity.
Industry experts at Which? Car compared the carbon dioxide created by charging electric vehicles with the carbon dioxide emitted by the most efficient diesel models. After a thorough comparison, experts conclude that,”sometimes there’s not a great deal of difference.”
And the gap is narrowing as ‘conventional’ cars up their game to cut emissions.
Which? Car analyzed three of the first EVS slated to hit the UK market and compared them to three conventional rivals. Here’s what they found after comparing the vehicles.
- The electric Smart Fortwo creates an ‘equivalent’ of 84 grams of carbon dioxide per km driven, whereas the £9,540 diesel Smart Fortwo emits 103 grams.
- The electric power generated to drive the LEAF is equivalent to carbon dioxide emissions of 81g/km. By contrast, the Volkswagen diesel Golf has carbon dioxide emissions of 108g/km.
- The power generated to power the Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car was equivalent to 68g/km while the similarly sized Suzuki Splash with a 1.3litre diesel engine has carbon dioxide emissions of 131g/km.
EVs are still much more greener than diesel cars when it comes to localized emissions, they don’t emit toxic chemicals that degrade the quality of the air.
Richard Headland, the editor of Which? Car magazine, had this to say to car makers: “We applaud car makers’ efforts to create greener cars – but we don’t agree with their ‘zero emissions’ claims. Until more electricity is produced from renewable sources in the UK, the carbon footprint of driving an electric car may not be as small as owners think.”
Headland didn’t spend all of his time criticizing EVs. He did praise the vehicles for their low carbon output. “‘Electric cars offer drivers a lower-carbon output and cheaper fueling costs, but are expensive compared with their traditional counterparts and not as versatile,” he said.
Approximately 71 percent of more than 2,000 Which? members surveyed said that they ere concerned about the short range of electric cars.
To get an accurate reading and measure the carbon dioxide created by charging an electric vehicle, Which? followed Carbon Trust’s method which states that 544 grams of carbon dioxide is emitted per kilowatt hour of electricity used. Which? converted this to an equivalent ‘grams per km’ carbon dioxide rating, to compare electric cars with the diesel cars.