Friday, January 7, 2011

Electric Cars May Accelerate CO2 Emissions, according to study

Is Chevy Volt a Polluter?
Printed in Forbes......Countries with dirty power supplies – like India and China – widespread adoption of electric vehicles could lead to more – not less – CO2 emissions compared to widespread adoption of gasoline based vehicles, unless dramatically less CO2 intensive.

Here is how the mechanics of the analysis worked:

This study aimed to determine the CO2 emissions stemming from [battery electric vehicles (BEVs)] operation in different countries and to compare those CO2 emissions to the emissions from similar vehicles based on internal combustion engines (ICEs). This study selected four ICE-based vehicles, and modeled BEVs based on the specifications of each of these vehicles. The modeled BEVs were run through a simulation to determine their energy consumption. Their energy consumption was combined with data on the CO2 intensity of the power generation mix in different countries to reveal the emissions resulting from BEV operation. The CO2 emissions from the BEVs were compared to the CO2 emissions for their ICE-based counterparts. Amongst the results, it was shown that for China and India, and other countries with a similarly high CO2 intensity, unless power generation becomes dramatically less CO2 intensive, BEVs will not be able to deliver a meaningful decrease in CO2 emissions and an increase in the penetration of BEVs could actually lead to higher CO2 emissions.