electric car charging

Electric car lifecycle emissions to fall 10 per cent by 2030, report finds

Lifecycle emissions from electric cars in the UK are expected to lower over the next decade due to manufacturing changes and a greener electricity grid, an analysis has found.

Due to the UK’s relatively clean electricity mix, a typical electric car is estimated to save around 65 per cent greenhouse gas emissions compared to an equivalent conventional petrol car.

A report from engineering firm Ricardo calculates that by 2030, over their entire life-cycle, EVs could see about 76 per cent lower emissions in future due to improvements in battery technology, battery manufacturing and end-of-life treatment as well as improved battery technology and a further decarbonised UK electricity grid.

By 2050, these savings could increase to 81 per cent as carbon emission from EV production comes close to parity with conventional vehicles.

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles also offer the opportunity to deliver large emissions savings for delivery lorries and other commercial transportation. By 2050, a hydrogen-powered articulated lorry could save 73 per cent GHG emissions versus a conventional diesel lorry.

The findings are contained in a new report prepared for the Department for Transport by Ricardo, a global energy and environmental consultancy.

Nikolas Hill, an associate director at Ricardo, said: “We are all aware of the operational environmental benefits of driving an electric car, but this study has provided further confirmation that those benefits are also significant in the UK when considering the full life of the vehicle from manufacturing to the end-of-life”

The effects of fuel consumption dominate the overall lifecycle impact for conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, including hybrids, currently accounting for more than 82 per cent of GHG emissions for passenger cars and vans, and is significantly more for higher-mileage heavy-duty vehicles.

The analysis also showed that while EVs consistently perform better than all other powertrains for all road vehicle types, hydrogen vehicles can also offer the opportunity to deliver large savings compared with conventional modes of transport.

Hydrogen-fuelled vehicles could become a particularly important option for longer distance road freight transport as they can be topped up faster than their fully electric counterparts.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “It’s fantastic to see the government’s move to power up the electric revolution is being backed by this ground-breaking analysis.

“We’ve already committed £2.5bn to support the rollout of EVs across the UK, cleaning up our air, boosting green jobs opportunities in our towns and villages, and improving convenience for drivers.”

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles