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New Report Questions Green Credentials of EVs

A new report on the green credentials of electric vehicles finds EVs to have significantly heavier environmental impact in production in both global warming potential (GWP) and toxicity than conventional vehicles while having a major GWP advantage over the working life of the vehicle.

EV Charge StationRightBrainPhotography / CC BY-SA 2.0

The report states that EVs have the “potential for significant increases in human toxicity, freshwater eco-toxicity, freshwater eutrophication (excessive richness of nutrients in a lake or other body of water)  and metal depletion impacts, largely emanating from the vehicle supply chain.”

Over the life of the vehicle it concludes that EVs exhibit a GWP benefit of between 9% and 29% over Gasoline Vehicles and between 0% and 20% over Diesel vehicles. The lower figures relate to a life of 100,000km for the EV, the higher figures to a life of 200,000km. The source of the electricity used is an obvious factor as are expected improvements in manufacture and life expectancy of the EV.

The report comes from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology entitled: Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles and published yesterday in the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

These are not new arguments and they are apt to excite lively debate. If you wish to listen in or join in, Leo Hickman at the Guardian is hosting a discussion which is attracting the participation of top contributors and the writers of the report themselves. A must read.

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