How much CO2 is produced to charge an electric car?
I currently don’t own an electric car because I’m a bit skeptical about how much better they actually are for the environment. Companies talk a lot about fuel costs, but they don’t address how much it costs the environment to produce electricity.
Answer provided by
Great question! We totally understand your skepticism, while EVs are advertised as greener, there are many things that aren’t addressed. The amount of CO2 produced when charging an electric car ultimately depends on how your region produces electricity. In a calculated example, the 2020 Nissan Leaf produces about 51 pounds of carbon dioxide for a full charge.
While some countries have begun to phase it out, for many countries including the US, coal-burning is the main source of electricity generation. A report by the US Energy Information and Administration showed that 60.8% of the total US energy generation was from burning fossil fuels in 2021.
Another report showed that in 2020, the total of 4.01 trillion kWh (from different energy sources) resulted in 1.55 billion metric tonnes of CO2 emissions, or 0.85 pounds of carbon dioxide for every kWh.
For example, the 2020 Nissan Leaf has a 40kWh battery which means for every 40kWh of charge the Leaf can drive 100 miles. At a driving range of about 150 miles (243 km), the car will need 60kWh of charge which will produce about 51 pounds of carbon dioxide to fully charge.
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