A report has been hitting the headlines in the UK about the carbon footprint of producing EVs. The main story is that (mostly due to the batteries) the manufacture of an electric vehicle means that it will need to drive 50,000 miles before an equivalent fossil fuel car becomes less green. This is not a complete lie – the carbon footprint of EV manufacture is (generally) higher than for fossil fuel cars at the moment. But leading on this headline figure obscures a lot of detail, and when you dig deeper, the motivations for the report become more questionable. The first eyebrow gets raised by the fact that this “new” report, entitled "Decarbonising Road Transport: There Is No Silver Bullet" borrows heavily from information released over two months ago. The main example for battery EV carbon footprint is the comparison between the production of a Polestar 2 EV and a conventional Volvo XC40, stating that the former produces 24 tons of CO2 during manufacture where the latter only takes 14 tons. This is a fair comparison because both cars come from the same parent company, Geely. In fact, Polestar itself released the information in September, so the numbers seem legitimate. The reason why this report is rehashing the information as new appears to be in reaction to the UK government announcement of a ban on sales of new fossil fuel cars in 2030. The problem is that most of the articles are leading on the worst-case scenario and either not stating the detail or burying it as far down their pieces as possible. The 50,000-mile figure is assuming the EV is being charged with the average blend of electricity sources on the UK national grid, which includes a lot of renewable input now but still regularly uses a lot of fossil fuels as well, particularly natural gas. There are a number of live tools where you can see this blend, but my favorite can be found here.- Forbes
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