"Are electric cars indeed environmentally-friendly?" has become an increasingly recurrent question. Fossil fuel-based mobility is inevitably linked with greenhouse gas emissions; but electric cars, although more efficient and devoid of any tailpipe emissions, also generate GHG emissions.
The main aim is to let users understand why, how, and in which cases electromobility is actually performing according to its green image, by cutting per-km emissions from its fossil fuel-based counterpart. A second objective is to show in which conditions electric vehicles may "counterperform": what happens when the battery size changes? or the background electricity mix? the battery lifetime? what about winter conditions affecting battery performances?
This app lets you compare the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of two passenger vehicles, an internal combustion engine (ICE) car, and an electric car. The results show the contribution of each phase of each vehicle's life cycle to emitting GHG. It is inspired by this implementation of a life cycle calculator.
A database of vehicle characteristics (energy consumption, curb weight, and battery capacity for the electric vehicles) allows you to pick a specific brand/model/year for each vehicle. Similarly, we use GHG emission factors for various European countries that have been calculated specifically for electromobility (i.e. at grid, at a charger). We also included "pure mixes" to test hypothetic scenarios where 100% of the electricity used to charge an electric car would come from a unique type of power plant, for which the data is extracted from the ecoinvent 3.4 database.
Furthermore, ICE cars' NEDC CO2 emissions are adjusted to reflect real-world driving, following the regular updates to the International Council for Clean Transportation study on real-world driving. For the sake of comparison fairness we have also added a "winter penalty" coefficient for the electric vehicles, altering the performance of their battery in winter (and thus reducing their range), according to the strategy adopted by forskning.no's calculator.
Although the underlying life cycle data is peer-reviewed, final results should not be considered as having the same quality - namely because of uncertainties in vehicle properties and exogenous parameters.