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EV battery facts & figures, Part-II

In today’s part 2 of our ‘EV (electric vehicles) battery facts & figures series’, we want to clear up some misconceptions around carbon-neutrality in e-mobility and dive into easy and powerful ways to reduce the CO2 footprint caused by e-mobility.

Ready? Here we go:

  • Ever so often you read about e-mobility being carbon-neutral or having 0g/km CO2 emissions – so why is that a misconception? Because there is and always will be some CO2 emissions during the different stages of the electric vehicle life cycle.
  • For one, you need to consider the initial production of the EV – the second biggest source of CO2 emissions during the EV lifecycle. Here the energy intensive battery manufacturing alone accounts for up to 40% of the overall production emissions*1.
  • Charging the battery during EV operation is the single biggest leaver on the overall electric vehicle CO2 footprint.
  • In case of charging the battery with an electricity mix including significant amounts of non-renewable sources over a typical vehicle lifetime of 150,000 kilometers, the overall CO2 emissions for the EV are actually not better than for the most efficient conventionally powered car*1.
  • But this does not mean that no one should drive an electric vehicle – not at all!
  • There are easy ways to improve this CO2 balance of the EV and to reduce the overall impact on the climate even further:
    • 1) EV drivers need to ensure that they only charge the battery with electricity generated from renewable energy sources by for example switching the contract for their energy provider at home.
    • 2) EV owners need to ensure that the battery has a second productive life once it is removed from the car after its first 7-8 years of productive use. By not immediately recycling the battery but giving it a second life, the “already spend” CO2 emissions during battery manufacturing are shared over a significantly longer battery life hence the impact on CO2 emissions on a per-kilometer basis for the EV is reduced by up to 22%*2.

And this is what gets us at betteries excited and out of bed in the morning. In part 3 of the series, we will look at exciting and meaningful second life use cases for EV batteries. Stay tuned.

 x1 – Effects of battery manufacturing on electric vehicle life-cycle greenhouse gas-emissions, icct, February 2018 (page 5, figure 1)

 x2 – Same (page 10, table 3)

Annika Hoenig
Annika Hoenig