If you include the manufacturing process of electric cars, are they actually any greener than petrol cars?

How green are electric cars when considering the manufacture, charging and recycling processes?

Asked on 17 September 2018 by John

Answered by Andrew Brady
This is a downside of electric cars. According to one report, producing the average electric vehicle generates around 8.8 tonnes of CO2, compared to 5.6 tonnes for the equivalent petrol car. Around 43 per cent of this is from producing the batteries. This is balanced out over the car's life, however, a medium-sized family car will produce around 24 tonnes of CO2 over its life, while an EV will produce around 18 tonnes. Around 46 per cent of an EV's total carbon footprint is generated at the factory. It's worth noting, though, that many manufacturers are introducing renewal energy sources to their plants. And some electricity suppliers, such as Ecotricity (which provides EV charge points at motorway service stations), use renewable energy.
Similar questions
How do you think motorway services will cope when, let's say, 50 per cent of cars on the road are electric? Will they ever have enough charge points for everyone?
I'm thinking of buying a Tesla but wonder if a PHEV would be more flexible on longer journeys. I'm also concerned about Tesla’s depreciation and cost of replacement batteries. If you could give me a steer...
I'm almost at point of purchase of a new vehicle to replace my ageing, although utterly reliable, Citroen C5. I find myself wanting to do the eco thing by buying an EV, yet I am somewhat sceptical about...
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car