Over the past decade, electric vehicles have been touted as a zero-emissions (of carbon gases) transportation device. In Ontario, the Electrical Vehicle (EV) incentive program was introduced by the then Liberal government in 2010 to encourage Ontarians to buy these vehicles. This program was cancelled by the newly elected Progressive Conservative government when they took power in 2018.
The Federal government, through its 2019 budget, provides rebates to Canadians to buy electrical vehicles. These rebates will take up to $5,000 off the cost of electric vehicles, and $2,500 off plug-in hybrids, but they initially applied only to cars that cost less than $45,000.
The public has always been told that electrical vehicles are “green” and “clean”. For those who do not examine this projected image of the electric vehicle in details, buying into the idea is easy. We all know that internal combustion engines burning gas or diesel will have carbon gas emissions and electrical motors do not emit any gases. However, we must also be aware that today’s vehicles emit only about 1 percent of the pollution of what they did in the 1960s, and new innovations continue to improve those engines’ efficiency and cleanliness.
People also tend to ignore how electricity — what EVs run on — is made. While the U.S. is making strides toward renewable energy, it is still largely dependent on natural gas and coal for the production of electricity. This ultimately means EVs are largely dependent on fossil fuels to operate. In Ontario, coal firing plants are eliminated but gas firing generating plants still exist to supplement windmills and solar panels when they cannot produce due to windless or cloudy days.
2018年，德国慕尼黑经济研究所（IFO）的研究报告指出，电动汽车的碳排放量可能高于柴油车，原因是其所用的锂离子电池。该研究使用特斯拉Model 3为例子。特斯拉Model 3的电池组的排污量为11至15吨二氧化碳。每个电池组的使用寿命约为10年，可行驶94,000公路。该车每行一公里要排放73至98克二氧化碳（每英里116至156克二氧化碳）。如果加上为这些车辆提供电力的发电厂的二氧化碳排放量，实际的特斯拉排污量为每公里156到180克二氧化碳（每英里249和289克二氧化碳）。
A 2018 study released by the Institute for Economic Research (IFO) in Munich, Germany found driving electric cars might come with higher emissions than diesel vehicles, largely because of lithium-ion battery production. The study uses a Tesla Model 3 as an example. A battery pack for this vehicle pollutes the climate with 11 to 15 tonnes of CO2. Each battery pack has a lifespan of approximately ten years and total mileage of 94,000 would translate into 73 to 98 grams of CO2 per kilometre (116 to 156 grams of CO2 per mile). Add the CO2 emissions of the electricity from power plants that power such vehicles to the equation, and the actual Tesla emissions could be between 156 to 180 grams of CO2 per kilometre (249 and 289 grams of CO2 per mile).
German researchers criticized the fact that EU legislation classifies electric cars as zero-emission cars; they call it a deception because electric cars, like the Tesla Model 3, with all the factors included, produce more emissions (156-180 grams of CO2 per kilometre) than a diesel-powered Mercedes C220d (141 grams of CO2 per kilometre). The Mercedes figure even includes emissions from producing diesel fuel.
Just like the case of the windmill – when carbon footprints for producing the hardware and the pedestal are included, the CO2 emissions supposedly saved throughout the life span of the equipment are actually less than that for the same amount of energy generated by a fossil fuel power plant. The electric vehicles emit more carbon gas than the new internal combustion vehicles once we add the carbon footprint for making the batteries into the equation.
There is a saying - “Lies repeated a thousand times becomes the truth”. Electric vehicle are not the ultimate and absolute carbon gas savers but the fallacy continues to be perpetuated by environmentalists and governments. Maybe we should start questioning their motives now?
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