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Bloomberg Study Suggests Electric Cars Might Not Be as Clean as We Think

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Though many major OEMs are tweaking their electric vehicle (EV) models, the actual production process of an EV isn’t as green as some people believe. Some battery production methods increase emissions, which makes the EV itself less green when considering the vehicle’s entire life cycle.

A recent Bloomberg study indicates that conventional combustion engines might release less CO2 in the long run. Per the study, an electric vehicle in Germany would take 10 years to break even with the emissions level of an efficient combustion engine vehicle. “Electric cars will be better in every way, but of course, when batteries are made in a coal-based electricity system it will take longer [to surpass diesel engines],” said NorthVolt AB CEO Peter Carlsson.

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That’s because many battery factories in Germany still rely on fossil fuel as their primary power source. The production of each battery in this type of factory produces 74 percent more C02 than the production of an efficient fossil fuel-powered vehicle.

Some countries are doing it right, however. Norway, for example, relies on hydro-electric energy to power the majority of its grid. As a result, EVs in this area output 60 percent less C02 during its lifetime compared with efficient combustion-engine vehicles. If more countries follow Norway’s example and switch to renewable energy, the manufacturing industry could reduce emissions by 65 percent, according to Transport & Environment Brussels.

In light of the expected increase in the number of EV models in the near future, automakers should focus more on implementing cleaner energy sources for their battery factories. After all, a comprehensive clean air policy includes not just electric vehicles, but also eco-friendly methods of producing them.

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News Sources: GM Authority, Bloomberg