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ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Tue Jun 29, 2021 4:28 pm

When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars?

This comparison shows your 'break-even' point, depending on electricity source
https://www.autoblog.com/2021/06/29/ele ... ven-point/

You glide silently out of the Tesla showroom in your sleek new electric Model 3, satisfied you're looking great and doing your bit for the planet.

But keep going — you'll have to drive another 13,500 miles (21,725 km) before you're doing less harm to the environment than a gas-guzzling saloon.

That's the result of a Reuters analysis of data from a model that calculates the lifetime emissions of vehicles, a hotly debated issue that's taking center stage as governments around the world push for greener transport to meet climate targets.

The model was developed by the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago and includes thousands of parameters from the type metals in an electric vehicle (EV) battery to the amount of aluminum or plastic in a car.

Argonne's Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Technologies (GREET) model is now being used with other tools to help shape policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board, the two main regulators of vehicle emissions in the United States.

Jarod Cory Kelly, principal energy systems analyst at Argonne, said making EVs generates more carbon than combustion engine cars, mainly due to the extraction and processing of minerals in EV batteries and production of the power cells.

But estimates as to how big that carbon gap is when a car is first sold and where the "break-even" point comes for EVs during their lifetime can vary widely, depending on the assumptions.

Kelly said the payback period then depends on factors such as the size of the EV's battery, the fuel economy of a gasoline car and how the power used to charge an EV is generated.

Norway's a winner

Reuters plugged a series of variables into the Argonne model, which had more than 43,000 users as of 2021, to come up with some answers.

The Tesla 3 scenario above was for driving in the United States, where 23% of electricity comes from coal-fired plants, with a 54 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery and a cathode made of nickel, cobalt and aluminum, among other variables.

It was up against a gasoline-fueled Toyota Corolla weighing 2,955 pounds with a fuel efficiency of 33 miles per gallon. It was assumed both vehicles would travel 173,151 miles during their lifetimes.

But if the same Tesla was being driven in Norway, which generates almost all its electricity from renewable hydropower, the break-even point would come after just 8,400 miles.

If the electricity to recharge the EV comes entirely from coal, which generates the majority of the power in countries such as China and Poland, you would have to drive 78,700 miles to reach carbon parity with the Corolla, according to the Reuters analysis of data generated by Argonne's model.

The Reuters analysis showed that the production of a mid-sized EV saloon generates 47 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile during the extraction and production process, or more than 8.1 million grams before it reaches the first customer.

By comparison, a similar gasoline vehicle generates 32 grams per mile, or more than 5.5 million grams.

Michael Wang, senior scientist and director of the Systems Assessment Center at Argonne's Energy Systems division, said EVs then generally emit far less carbon over a 12-year lifespan.

Even in the worst-case scenario where an EV is charged only from a coal-fired grid, it would generate an extra 4.1 million grams of carbon a year while a comparable gasoline car would produce over 4.6 million grams, the Reuters analysis showed.

'Well-to-wheel'

The EPA told Reuters it uses GREET to help evaluate standards for renewable fuel and vehicle greenhouse gases while the California Air Resources Board uses the model to help assess compliance with the state's low-carbon fuel standard.

The EPA said it also used Argonne's GREET to develop an online program that allows U.S. consumers to estimate the emissions from EVs based on the fuels used to generate electric power in their area.

The results of the Reuters analysis are similar to those in a life-cycle assessment of electric and combustion-engine vehicles in Europe by research group IHS Markit.

Its "well-to-wheel" study showed the typical break-even point in carbon emissions for EVs was about 15,000 to 20,000 miles, depending on the country, according to Vijay Subramanian, IHS Markit's global director of carbon dioxide (CO2) compliance.

He said using such an approach showed there were long-term benefits from shifting to electric vehicles. . . .
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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Re: ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Tue Jun 29, 2021 4:57 pm

If they were to use a more typical American market ICEV, it would get about 22-25MPG, with a roughly 1/3 reduction in time to "break even." The study also fails to take into account the immediate reduction in air pollutants in heavily polluted urban areas. IMHO, this study was designed to slow EV adoption, while appearing to pass muster as scientifically valid.
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Re: ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Wed Jun 30, 2021 6:46 am

LeftieBiker wrote:
Tue Jun 29, 2021 4:57 pm
If they were to use a more typical American market ICEV, it would get about 22-25MPG, with a roughly 1/3 reduction in time to "break even." The study also fails to take into account the immediate reduction in air pollutants in heavily polluted urban areas. IMHO, this study was designed to slow EV adoption, while appearing to pass muster as scientifically valid.
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Re: ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Wed Jun 30, 2021 6:56 am

The literature on CO2 burden from EV manufacturing is improving in method and analysis but the results are still influenced by starting assumptions and estimates. There is also a pile of politicized rubbish. Perhaps most fundamentally, I've yet to see studies that take battery recycling into account.

The best answers are a range.
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LeftieBiker
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Re: ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Wed Jun 30, 2021 1:06 pm

I know for me, I generate more solar by far right now than I use. So does that make my EV 110% Solar based?
We do 95% of our charging with power from a hydroelectric plant 3/4 of a mile away from us. That's as close to carbon-free power as you can get.
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Re: ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Wed Jun 30, 2021 2:23 pm

This article on the raw materials is interesting and relevant. New battery chemistry may make it more difficult for recycling.
https://grist.org/transportation/the-us ... -should-it

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Re: ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Wed Jun 30, 2021 3:02 pm

That still leaves reuse, which will become more important as the use of home solar expands.
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GRA
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Re: ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:19 pm

A related study, via GCC:
ICCT LCA study finds only battery and hydrogen fuel-cell EVs have potential to be very low-GHG passenger vehicle pathways
https://www.greencarcongress.com/2021/0 ... -icct.html

The ICCT has conducted a comprehensive global and temporal life-cycle assessment of GHG emissions from a variety of alternative passenger car powertrains and fuels. The results show there is no realistic pathway to full decarbonization of internal combustion engine vehicles, and that only battery and hydrogen fuel-cell EVs have potential to be very low-GHG passenger vehicle pathways.

ICCT’s analysis, “A global comparison of the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of combustion engine and electric passenger cars,” looked at four separate, globally representative regions—the European Union, the United States, China, and India—and captured the differences among those markets, which together account for about 70% of new car sales worldwide.

The life-cycle GHG emissions of cars registered in 2021 are compared with those of cars expected to be registered in 2030. In addition to its regional and temporal scope, this study is distinct from earlier LCA literature in four key aspects:

This study considers the lifetime average carbon intensity of the fuel and electricity mixes, including biofuels and biogas. Based on stated policies, it accounts for changes in the carbon intensity during the useful lifetime of the vehicles.

This study considers the fuel and electricity consumption in average real-world usage instead of solely relying on official test values. This is especially important for assessing the GHG emissions of PHEVs.

This study uses recent data on industrial-scale battery production and considers regional battery supply chains. This results in significantly lower battery production emissions than in earlier studies.

This study incorporates the near-term global warming potential of methane leakage emissions of natural gas and natural gas-derived hydrogen pathways. Different from other GHGs, methane contributes several times more to global warming in the first 20 years after emission than is reflected by the 100-year global warming potential (GWP).

The ICCT team considered battery and hydrogen fuel-cell EVs, plug-in hybrid EVs, natural gas, biofuels, and e-fuels.The study used the lifetime average carbon intensity of fuel and electricity mixes, and accounted for changes in the carbon intensity over vehicle lifetime given present energy policies.

Natural gas does not offer climate benefits compared to gasoline and diesel, and many biofuel pathways do not, either. There will not be sufficient supply of very low-GHG biofuels, biogas, and e-fuels to decarbonize internal combustion engine vehicles, according to the ICCT. Drivers of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles rely too much on the gasoline engine for this pathway to be a long-term climate solution, the ICCT said.

Only full battery electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen fuel-cell EVs have the potential to be very low-GHG pathways, and the emissions from manufacturing batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines are small when compared to the GHG savings from the greater efficiency and cleaner energy supply of EVs compared to conventional vehicles, according to the report. . . .

The analysis makes policy recommendations to promote the adoption of electric vehicles and help decarbonize their life-cycle:

The registration of new combustion engine vehicles should be phased out in the 2030–2035 time frame. Given average vehicle lifetimes of 15–18 years, only those technologies that can achieve a deep decarbonization of the global car fleet by 2050 should be produced and registered by about 2030–2035.

BEVs powered by renewable electricity and FCEVs fueled by green hydrogen are the only two technology pathways that qualify. Hybridization can be utilized to reduce the fuel consumption of new internal combustion engine vehicles registered over the next decade, but neither hybrid electric vehicles nor plug-in hybrid electric vehicles provide the magnitude of reduction in GHG emissions needed in the long term.

No surprise, over the long-term.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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Re: ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:59 am

Anything that says EVs aren't better for the environment (in the big picture) is biased...and no, I'm not biased ;)
If I understand the original article/post correctly, almost anyone I know who buys/drives a car will drive it > 20k miles in it's lifetime (and even that estimate may be inflated)...so I don't see how that isn't good for EVs.
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Re: ABG: When do electric vehicles become cleaner than gasoline cars? This comparison shows your 'break-even' point

Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:27 pm

Stanton wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:59 am
Anything that says EVs aren't better for the environment (in the big picture) is biased...and no, I'm not biased ;)
If by "the environment" you mean CO2 emissions, then I think the green-ness of EVs in their current state is mixed at best. First because EVs are still considerably more expensive than ICE vehicles of the same size/utility, and cost is a pretty good proxy for the embedded energy required to build them. Second because most electricity production still comes from fossil fuel sources and that isn't likely to change in the next decade or two unless nuclear has a resurgence.

I own an EV because I'm a technology geek and I like how they drive. And as a not-quite early adopter I'm helping the industry develop to a point where it will be truly competitive with ICEs.
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