A new study from the University of Minnesota shows that plug-in electric vehicles have both an air quality and global warming emissions benefit when they are charged using electricity generated from natural gas or renewable sources. However, the research finds that using electricity from coal-fired power plants in an EV is likely to have worse emissions than an average gasoline vehicle. This result isn’t surprising, but it’s also important to put in context. Many regions in the US use very little coal to generate electricity and the fraction of electricity in the US produced from coal has been dropping – meaning many EVs are delivering emissions benefits today and have the potential to deliver even more in the future.
New Study Shows Electric Vehicles Can Have Significant Climate and Air Quality Benefits Compared to Gasoline Cars
December 17th, 2014
October 21st, 2014
Long planned and anticipated, the first production-version hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) are rolling out and more are on their way. Mass-market models from Honda, Hyundai and Toyota are in the works. They are an important solution — along with plug-in electric vehicles — for reducing our carbon emissions and achieving our goals of putting more zero-emission vehicles on the road. As I have written before, FCEVs have advantages of greater driving range and faster refueling. Questions arise, however, about just how clean these vehicles are if the early models rely on hydrogen produced from natural gas — a fossil fuel. Read More
The Best Cars for the Climate? What a Recent Report on Electric Cars Gets Right — and Where We Need More Analysis
August 13th, 2013
A new report by Climate Central (CC) compares the emissions from electric vehicles (EVs) to gasoline-only cars and examines how the emissions change depending where you are driving in the country. My interpretation of the results: EVs are less polluting than the average new gasoline vehicle everywhere in the U.S. and EVs are better than the best gasoline car in many parts of the country. Read More