Are Electric Vehicles Really Better for the Climate? Yes. Here’s Why

, Senior vehicles engineer | February 11, 2020, 2:08 pm EDT
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One of the questions I’m most frequently asked about electric vehicles (EV) is: “Are they really a cleaner option?” While it’s obvious that a fully-electric vehicle eliminates tailpipe emissions, people often wonder about the global warming emissions from generating the electricity to charge an EV. The latest data affirms that driving on electricity produces significantly fewer emissions than using gasoline and is getting better over time.

Electricity power plant emissions data for 2018 has just been released and we’ve crunched the latest numbers.  Based on where EVs have been sold, driving the average EV produces global warming pollution equal to a gasoline vehicle that gets 88 miles per gallon (mpg) fuel economy. That’s significantly better than the most efficient gasoline car (58 mpg) and far cleaner than the average new gasoline car (31 mpg) or truck (21 mpg) sold in the US. And our estimate for EV emissions is almost 10 percent lower than our previous estimate two years ago. Now 94 percent of people in the US live where driving an EV produces less emissions than using a 50 mpg gasoline car.


EV emissions are lower across the country


The mpg (miles per gallon) value listed for each region is the combined city/highway fuel economy rating of a gasoline vehicle that would have global warming emissions equivalent to driving an EV. Regional global warming emissions ratings are based on 2018 power plant data in the EPA’s eGRID2018 database (released January 2020). Comparison includes gasoline and electricity fuel production emissions estimates for processes like extraction, transportation, and refining using Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET 2019 model. The 88 mpg US average is a sales-weighted average based on where EVs were sold in 2011 through September 2019.

To compare the climate-changing emissions from electric vehicles to gasoline-powered cars, we analyzed all the emissions from fueling and driving both types of vehicles. For a gasoline car, that means looking at emissions from extracting crude oil from the ground, moving the oil to a refinery, making gasoline and transporting gasoline to filling stations, in addition to combustion emissions from the tailpipe.

For electric vehicles, the calculation includes both power plant emissions and emissions from the production of coal, natural gas and other fuels power plants use. Our analysis relies on emissions estimates for gasoline and fuels production from Argonne National Laboratory (using the GREET2019 model) and power plant emissions data released by the US EPA. The data, released in January 2020, tallied the emissions from US power plants during 2018.

When looking at all these factors, driving the average EV is responsible for fewer global warming emissions than the average new gasoline car everywhere in the US. In some parts of the country, driving the average new gasoline car will produce 4 to 7 times the emissions of the average EV.  For example, the average EV driven in upstate New York has emissions equal to a (hypothetical) 231 mpg gasoline car. And in California, a gasoline car would need to get 122 mpg to have emissions as low as the average EV.

Compared to our last analysis that used 2016 power plant data, emissions from EVs are on average 10 percent lower. The reductions have come from two primary sources:

  • The emissions rate from power plants in the US fell over 5 percent between 2016 and 2018. The drop comes from lower generation from coal and increases in natural gas, wind, and solar.
  • The average efficiency of EVs sold to-date in the US improved since our last analysis (by about 6 percent). This was due to the sales of Tesla’s Model 3, one of the most efficient vehicles on the market. The Model 3 now makes up more than 20 percent of all EVs (and more than one third of battery electric cars) ever sold in the US, so its efficiency has a noticeable impact on calculation of average EV efficiency.

A decade of improvement

The change from our first analysis of global warming emissions from EVs and gasoline vehicles in 2012 (using 2009 powerplant data) is even more impressive.  In our initial assessment, less than half the US lived where an EV produced fewer emissions than a 50 mpg car, while now nearly all of the US falls in that category. The improvement has been driven partially by increasing EV efficiency, but the major contribution has been from the reduction in electricity generation from coal power plants. Electricity from coal has fallen from 45% to 28% in less than a decade. At the same time, solar and wind electricity has grown from less than 2% to 8% in 2018.


  2009 2016 2018
% of US population living in a “Best” region for EVs (>50 mpg equivalent) 45% 75% 94%
Fraction of electricity grid regions where an EV is lower emission than a 50mpg vehicle 9 of 26 16 of 26 22 of 26
fraction of US electricity from coal power plants 45% 30% 28%
fraction of US electricity from wind and solar power 2% 7% 8%


Car buyers have options to be even cleaner by choosing a more efficient EV

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the most efficient EV models available. Efficient EVs help minimize the global warming emissions from driving. (David Reichmuth / UCS)

The average EV is cleaner than the average new gasoline vehicle everywhere in the US. But if you choose the most efficient EV available, your emissions reductions from switching from gasoline to electricity will be even higher. For example, driving the 2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus (0.24 kWh/mile) in California has emissions equal to a 161 mpg gasoline car, or less than a fifth of the global warming emissions of the average new gasoline car and over 60 percent less than even the most efficient gasoline car. And in upstate New York, the emissions from driving an EV can be as low as one tenth those of an average new gasoline car.

As the grid continues to get cleaner, EVs, both new and used, will get cleaner as well. This is a distinct advantage EVs have over gasoline-fueled vehicles: their emissions get better over time as the grid gets cleaner. Gasoline vehicles’ fuel economy is fixed and therefore so are their emissions, as long as they rely primarily on petroleum for fuel.

Driving the most efficient EV available in the US means lower emissions than any gasoline car in nearly all of the US. In Upstate New York, emissions from driving the cleanest EV are one tenth that of the average new gasoline vehicle.

Larger EVs can still lead to lower emissions

The Audi e-tron is an all-electric SUV. It’s less efficient than many other EVs due to its size, but still has a global warming emissions benefit relative to the comparable gasoline SUV model. (credit:UCS/Reichmuth)

Larger EVs, like SUVs and pickup trucks are slowly becoming available, and more are promised soon, including an electric version of the Hummer SUV. Larger vehicles, whether gasoline or electric-powered, are less efficient. However, switching from gasoline to electricity still has an advantage.

Take for example the Audi e-tron EV SUV: using 0.46 kWh per mile, it is one of the least efficient EVs available. However, the most comparable gasoline model, the Audi Q8 gasoline-fueled SUV is also inefficient for a gasoline vehicle, with a fuel economy rating of 18 mpg. The Audi e-tron electric SUV will produce less emissions than the gasoline-powered Audi Q8 while driving, even on the dirtiest electric grids in the US. And on the cleanest grids, the electric SUV is responsible for less than a quarter of the global warming emissions of the gasoline SUV. For more than 90 percent of the population, driving the electric version of this vehicle will produce less than half the global warming emissions of the gasoline model.


Audi e-tron EV SUV emissions compared to Audi Q8 gasoline SUV emissions Greater EV emissions than gasoline Up to 50 percent emissions savings with EV 50 to 75 percent emissions savings with EV Over 75 percent emissions savings with EV
Fraction of US population 0% 8% 73% 19%
Population 0 26 million 232 million 61 million


EVs are one part of reducing transportation emissions

Passenger cars and trucks are a significant source of global warming emissions in the US. Switching from gasoline to electricity is a vital solution for reducing emissions and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. However, it’s only one of many solutions we need to use. Because many of the cars sold in the next five years will be gasoline-powered, it is important to make sure those vehicles are as clean as possible by having strong fuel economy and emission standards.

Additionally, actions we can take to reduce all driving (whether from gasoline or EVs) will help lower emissions. Sharing rides, using public transit, and making it easier to walk and bike are all important solutions to climate change. But for the personal vehicle trips that we can’t avoid today, switching to an EV can make a big difference in how much global warming emissions we produce and is one of the biggest actions a household can take to reduce their carbon footprint.


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  • Orlando Rutan

    I’m not quite sure if this work was done using production simulation models and marginal emissions, or, is it done using average emissions. Marginal emissions will be higher, since they are generally gas.

  • Christopher R

    Fortunately sales for electric vehicles are in the toilet. Don’t need a car to just abruptly stop working; or better get charged $10,000 for upgrade that I did not request (lets all say; Tesla).

  • John Dean

    This will not be a problem for a while because, as you point out, the adoption rate of electric cars is very low… but it is worth noting that 100% adoption of electric automobiles would require an infrastructure investment to approximately double our present electric generating and distribution capacity.

    • If it were ever to really happen (providing a electric powered fleet of automobiles, not to mention the much bigger challenge of an all electric power system for everything), think of all the fun new problems we would get to face. And if we need to double the infrastructure just to stay even, just think what the power of exponential growth (one of those pesky realities required to keep our economic system from collapsing) would have on that increased need in infrastructure. Then do the math to figure out how much resources would need to be consumed to build it all, then try to figure out where it would all come from, then try to figure out what wastes would be produced in the conversion process, and where we would dump them; and it is no wonder it is easier to just remain ignorant of all those pesky numbers and mind numbing impacts, and just assume new technology and 100% efficiency and recycling, and positive vibes will make all the rainbows and unicorns come to life.

  • sfl

    Do ICE figures account for actual emissions at tailpipe as opposed to rated emissions (emissions controls turning off in cold weather or hotter weather) etc? I suspect the gap is even wider.

    • CCM591

      There are no emission controls for CO2 emissions currently, just for criteria pollutants like NOx and PM. UCS only considered global warming (CO2e) emissions in this analysis.

      • sfl

        Good to know! So only values that come from reg testing (like EPA cycle)? I.e the likes of VW emitting many times more under real conditions would be understated?

      • CCM591

        Yes, in that case.

        The GREET model (referenced above) uses the highest EPA Tier 3 bin (Bin 160) as the basis for its direct criteria pollutant emissions for current ICE vehicles.

  • Scott Manhart

    I do not see the accounting for the impact of EV manufacture, particularly the battery. The gasoline of diesel is the “battery’ for fossil fueled vehicles, you need to account for this for an adequate comparison. You also need to account for operating in colder temperatures. Such conditions will reduce the useable range of the battery. Since average temperatures are below the ideal for EV battery operation for about half the year north of 40 degrees latitude this must be accounted as well. Form the best analysis I have seen form manufacture to demolition and recycling there is only marginal benefit to EV overall. It is more a lifestyle choice than an environmental one. The most powerful of all human base emotions is the drive to appear virtuous. EV’s fill that role.

    • sfl

      You have a point about temperature, it’s worth noting that ICE engines often exceed by FAR their stated/tested emissions on account of cold weather. The study surely also does not account for the pervasive problem of older cars “mysteriously” passing emissions tests and spewing many times more particulates that they’re allowed to.

    • AS3

      If you did that, you would have to account for ALL the idle time an ICE engine needs, to warm up. Cold weather EV range loss is only really a thing, when you do not precondition your battery before leaving. This is just a touch on your app, from inside the home. Once on the road, an EV is subject to similar losses as an ICE vehicle.

      Electric vehicle battery life does not stop with the death of the vehicle. They can go on, in the form of home battery storage solution (for over a DECADE or two). THEN, most of it can be recycled.

      It does seem like you just do not wish to believe the science behind these things, just to make yourself feel better about NOT getting an EV. That is just my observation, based on your words.

  • John Donaldson

    Using our roof solar, as many others do, we have zero dependence on grid power to charge the car for about 3/4 of the year.

    • devroot

      Do you charge overnight, or only during the day when the sun is shining? I have grid-tied rooftop solar as well, but I don’t pretend that my car is running on sunshine because I either charge at work or at home overnight when rates are cheapest.

      • AS3

        When you have solar plus batteries and net metering, it doesn’t matter when you charge. Remember, you can’t negate the sun energy that’s being put into the grid. In my case, 0 kW is pulled from the grid, for 11 months out of the year. Solar overproduction is twice what is used.

      • devroot

        You hadn’t mentioned the batteries. Do they store enough to fully recharge your vehicle? If so, that’s great.

  • David Richardson

    EVs are even better than you think. The emissions intensity of the grid is falling and that means any new demand for electricity is being met by additions to renewable electricity supplies.That means that any new demand for electricity is being met by new installations of renewable energy. It’s just like powering you new car from your own solar system except that the new solar etc is being installed by your electricity supplier.
    People tend to concentrate on the average emissions in the grid but new demand from EVs and elsewhere is not going to increase emissions according to the average intensity. No – new electricity demands from EVs should be compared with the intensity of the new generation that is installed to meet the new demand. And the emissions intensity of the new supply is virtually zero.

  • Robert0117

    This analysis does not include the green house emissions of the manufacturing processes. The embedded emissions of all vehicles far exceeds the lifetime contribution from fueling. By far the least contribution is from an existing vehicle..

    • devroot

      UCUSA already addressed this:

      Conclusion: any extra emissions produced during the manufacturing process is typically erased within the first year of operation of the EV.

      I don’t disagree that a well maintained used vehicle is potentially a better choice than a shiny brand-new EV.

      • sfl

        *well maintained* isn’t always given though. So many people skirt emissions tests.

      • devroot

        In my state it’s really hard to get around the emissions tests these days. I don’t doubt that some manage to get away with it, but I think the number of people who do so successfully are a really low percentage.

  • It would be great if all we had to do to fix our environmental problems was to go out and fork over $50,000 or so and buy new Tesla’s and we could all keep on driving into the sunset into infinity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take advanced degrees in science to figure out that the laws of physics are soon to bring an end to the days of unlimited economic growth on our finite planet. It is rather disappointing that a group that calls itself the Union of Concerned Scientists, doesn’t really understand the real math and science behind it’s simplistic solutions. More than likely those who propose such simple solutions have invested their lives and futures on the prosperous life of those rewarded for promoting the folly of infinite growth through new and improved techno-fantasy. Keep the dream alive, until it collapses around you.

    • devroot

      It’s going to take years to transition the US fleet to to electric-only. Probably a couple of decades at the very least. This article is not saying that we all have to go out and buy $50K Teslas right now. Just that if you are considering an EV, it’s way cleaner than you might think, even when taking into account the emissions associated with the production of the battery.

      BTW, there’s plenty of used EVs available for under $10K. There’s even plenty of new models under $40K, and some can be had for well under $30K. So you aren’t stuck paying $50K for a Tesla if you want to go electric.

      • Good to know this will take years, and maybe even a couple decades. And thanks for clarifying that the conclusion of the article “switching to an EV can make a big difference in how much global warming emissions we produce” is misleading and actually the EV is only way cleaner than those dirty fossil fuel cars we poor slobs that can’t afford the under 10K electrics continue to drive and spewing out the formally harmless fossil fuel waste of CO2. However, if by some miracle the really smart engineers and scientist are actually able to pull off this big switch and all our internal combustion powered vehicles are replaced by these “clean green electrics” you do realize that digging up the earth to find minerals to make into any kind of vehicle or the infrastructure that powers them, or is needed to drive them on, and dumping the wastes created in the processes on the land, water, or air; will continue to plunder the planet for more resources and cause planet wide problems as they now do besides our apparently only problem of pesky climate change? How about instead of continuing to blindly assume we all need our cars, that we focus instead on creating communities where we live within our means, without destroying the ecosystems, or our neighbors ecosystems, and forget about on driving into infinity in our automobiles. But I suppose it takes someone smarter than a rocket scientist to figure that out.

      • sfl

        So You’re saying better to pollute more with gas and set it on fire (where there’s ZERO chance of recycling) . Maybe do it while fracking and swearing at wind turbines I suppose ?

      • SFL. Wow, quite an interpretation. Normally if I want to say something I say it direct, so no, that is not what I am saying. Swearing, at the ignorance of folks caught up in techno-fantasies however is quite likely.

        To clarify what I am saying, again, is that if you are really concerned about the impact that automobiles have on the planet, than the solution is not simply to replace internal combustion engines with electric motors, and then keep on encouraging and building more cars and more infrastructure to use them with. Assuming we ever build enough windmills and solar panels and grid system to ever power the imagined fleet of electric cars, the impacts from this are going to create problems of their own, above and beyond the problems related to burning fossil fuels. Windmills and solar panels do not grow on trees, nor do the electric powered cars that so many folks seem to think will fix our problems.

        I believe the solution to our problems are to create communities where we have everything we need (not want) and we obtain what we need with the realization that the rest of the planet also has needs as well. Driving into infinity to get as fast as we can from point a to point b and then back to point a again was a foolish idea in the beginning, and it will be foolish in the future, no matter what fuel you try to do it with. Machines and manufacturing, especially on a global industrial scale are literally leading us down a dead-end road and if we have hopes of surviving, it will take an ability to think outside that dead-end box. I hope that clarifies what I am saying.

      • sfl

        Clearly I misread you, my bad. I have to say I see nothing wrong with changing the way we organize communities etc. I’m just thinking that along the way , as we transition , we might want to chose less emissions over more . Does that sound reasonable ?

      • Simply focusing on emissions from automobiles, will result in missing the bigger picture, and more than likely result in more problems occurring, and even higher CO2 emission in the short term. The problems human beings are facing are not limited to increased CO2 emissions in the atmosphere causing a changing climate, that is only one of many negative consequences. Other consequences include the extermination of many other species of life on the planet, dead zones in oceans, contamination of surface and ground water, extreme inequality amongst our own species, to name a few of the more obvious ones. I would argue that the root cause of these symptoms, is a way of life demanded and designed by those of our species who hold that power (which many of us engineer and scientist types willingly helped to design and build) that is fueled by a need for more and more power to consume more and more resources to create more and more “goods” and “services” to create more and more wealth and power for those in control. The discovery and use of fossil fuels and the tools to harness the energy released when they are burned has greatly accelerated the ability of that process to accelerate exponentially and indeed greatly accelerated the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere. However, changing the power source of the engines used to drive the cars used by people trying to get around in the insane world created by this process, is not going to stop the larger process. What it is likely to do is encourage people to continue to ignore the bigger problem, and actually burn more fossil fuels in the process to create the “new” infrastructure that theoretically would allow the use of electric power to power the insanity. The good news as I see, is that solar and wind energy will not provide the same bang for the buck as fossil fuels and this later empire powered by fossil fuels will collapse. But in the attempt to bring the “green new deal” to fruition, more fossil fuels will be burned up in an attempt to keep the dream alive, and the end result is likely to be even higher CO2 emissions in the short term, and an inability to utilize some of those fossil fuels to power things that might be needed to transition out of the insanity. So on my part, I will not be investing what is left of my life, on encouraging anyone to drive electric cars as some sort of better alternative to the dirty old internal combustion version of insanity which I still like many other fools continue to drive since to survive in this insane world without one is very difficult. Hopefully one day as I figure out what it is I really need to live and then how to obtain it from the ecosystem where I live without trashing the rest of the ecosystem, the car will mostly turn into a reminder of how stupid human beings really are. But then again, that time may never come, but trying to get there is a lot more fun that waiting to crash. So cheers to you!

      • AS3

        “…the impacts from this are going to create problems of their own, above and beyond the problems related to burning fossil fuels.”

        Dude, think about what you said. What is “beyond” the extinction of the human race and most other animals?! Silliness.

      • Silliness indeed!

    • Stanislav Jaracz

      You can’t look at MSRP of EV. And, btw, the cheapest Tesla is less than $40k. You missed the point. As a rough estimate, driving electric will save you $600-$1000 per year just on the fuel alone. So, over the 10-year estimated car life, owners save $10,000 on fuel. You also save on service as there are no oil changes, no transmission, no emission system to check and inspect, etc. Your braking pads will most likely last for the life of the car because of energy recuperation. And, as the economy of scale continue to lower the cost of batteries, so will the prices of EVs. UCS is respected organization, don’t be doubtful about their credibility.

      • Stanislav, the quickest way to ensure my skepticism, is to have some one tell me not to be skeptical. My skepticism comes from making a living for the past 30 years or so from getting paid to clean up or more likely cover up the trash, sewage, air pollution, and other waste that gets dumped on the planet in the process of making machines and other stuff that most of the human beings on the planet can not even afford, nor do the ones who have them really need them. I also question your rough estimate of savings. I probably drive my car 10,000 miles a year and I get probably about 30 miles/gallon of gas and currently pay probably $3.40 per gallon for gas which if my math is right results in $1133 per year for gas. So with electric now I only pay my electric company $133 a year to use their electricity?? The point I am trying to get across is your economic examples of the wonders of electronic cars are indeed based on the pseudo-science of economics, not on the realities that govern the planet. Economics is designed to pad the pockets of a few and reward some more for promoting the foolish conclusions of those whose pockets are padded. Making more stuff to speed around the planet, encourage more pavement, and consume more resources to get from point a to point b, will in the end continue to result in the destruction of the planet and it’s life forms, no matter how much money it saves me, or how much less fossil fuel I burn, that is the point, and that is why I shall remain skeptical of anything point out by the Union of Concerned Scientists who seem mostly concerned with ensuring the continuance of there privileged lifestyle and not the rest of the people or planet, and I probably need to stop following the pseudo-science the organization appears to be promoting.

      • devroot

        Don’t assume that your situation is the same as other people’s situation. Don’t assume that your view of the world is the only valid view of the world.

        Assuming that you pay 20 cents a kWh, switching from a 30 MPG vehicle to an EV that gets 3.5 miles per kWh will save between $500 and $600 a year ($571 in electricity used). And avoid the associated emissions and pollution emanating from the 30 MPG vehicle.

        The planet isn’t being destroyed. What’s being destroyed is the ability for the planet to support our particular form of life. If we destroy our way life, the Earth will just go “so much for that form of life, let’s see what fills the niche left behind. Hopefully it will do better than the last one.”

      • It is really not worth arguing about the economics of it all, as it is all just imaginary numbers. And from what I have observed, the planet and many of it’s life forms are indeed being destroyed, not by our particular form of life, but rather by our particular way of life, at least that is how it looks from my view. Individuals driving cars is just one of many examples of the form the destruction takes. And what if any niches will remain to be filled depends on how much longer our experimental lifestyles continue. Fortunately, our fossil fueled way of life is beginning to run on empty, and the realities of the limited energy potentials of the new found “green and clean” solar and wind will come up far short in the destructive potential of our fossil fuels. So whatever niches remain, are not likely to be observed by foolish humans in their passing motor cars, no matter what fuels they choose to power them with. But then again, that is only my distorted view of life in the fast lane in my fun filled new electric mobile. Happy motoring.

      • AS3

        It doesn’t matter how wrong you really are (very wrong, by the way). You won’t have a choice, of a new gas vehicle, in the coming future. That makes me feel better about reading your comments.

      • Dang, so much for the free market I guess. Oh well, good to know you’re feeling better. And on who is wrong and who is right, we should meet in the future and talk some more. In the meantime, keep on driving!

  • Lucy Houghton

    Its widely accepted that in use EVs are better for the environment but what about the lifecycle of the product? How do these compare – how much driving would you have to do in an EV to make it better than a petrol/diesel car?

    One study which I have come across suggests that after 38,000km a diesel LCA works out at 4.0t CO2e, Petrol as 4.5tCO2e and Electric as 6.9t CO2e whereby the electric charge contributions were only 0.6t but the LCA of the battery accounted for the remaining 6.3t.
    This means that en electric car would need to do over 70,412km before it has overcome the heavy carbon weighting of its battery to be a better option than a diesel. 70,412km = 43,751 miles. Based on this model an electric vehicle doesn’t become better than a diesel until after 3.6 years of use assuming average annual mileage is 12,000miles.
    However, that is all based off one study so I’d be interested to see how your findings compare – especially with a variety of car makes, models, sizes and efficiencies.

    • disqus_grcLL7Hxyd

      Great questions. And to add to that what about cradle to grave of each component? In particular, what about disposal/recycling/reuse of the batteries? Or as asked in the song, “How bad are the batteries?”

      • devroot

        Any extra emissions associated with manufacturing of the EV, including the battery pack, is quickly erased in the first year of the EV’s operational lifetime.

      • Too bad we can’t get some of those erasers to simply erase the pesky emission from fossil fuels as well.

      • devroot

        Eventually we will get rid of those emissions by eliminating the use of fossil fuels in the first place. But that will take time. This is not a sprint to the finish. It’s a long hard marathon.

      • AS3

        But, it kind of needs to be a sprint.

      • devroot

        There’s no way we can do a sprint without a massive disruption to the transportation sector, which would have a massive impact on the global economy. There just isn’t enough manufacturing capability out there to transition everything to EV in less than 2 or 3 decades. Average age of a vehicle in the US is 11 years. Average number of vehicles sold in the US is around 17 million per year. Average number of EVs sold in the US is less than 250K. That’s 1.4% of total US sales.

      • AS3

        That’s been mostly covered already. However, vehicle battery life does not stop with the death of the vehicle. They can go on, in the form of home battery storage solution (for over a DECADE or two). THEN, most of it can be recycled.

    • devroot

      They (UCSUSA) already addressed this:

      I don’t know if they have a more updated version available.

      • disqus_grcLL7Hxyd

        Yes, that’s helpful in terms of climate emissions. My question is broader, though. I am thinking about waste management, soil and watershed protection. Thanks.

      • AS3

        Soil and watershed protection, in regards to EVs?