How much CO2 is used to charge an electric car?

I’ve had my used 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric for a few years. I’ve been blowing through a bunch of environmental docs and based on what I’ve learned, it’s made me wonder if electric cars really are “greener” than gas cars. How much CO2 does charging my electric car produce?

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Answer provided by
Tara Malenfa
Answered on Apr 28, 2022
There’s nothing like a fantastic docu-series to binge on the weekend! I just can’t get enough of Tiny World about Earth’s smallest creatures, narrated by Paul Rudd. Need I say more?
Contrary to popular belief, electric cars are still far away from being zero-emissions vehicles. Due to the mining of rare earth elements (lithium, cobalt, etc), producing an electric car does _release a substantial amount of greenhouse gasses _into the atmosphere. It’s also important to note that an EV’s lifetime carbon emission involves not only the tailpipe but the battery and maintenance as well.
The amount of CO2 used to charge your electric car depends on:
  • The source of the current, how it was produced, and where it was produced.
  • The time of day you’re charging your electric vehicle.
  • If you’re using a power grid, it’s most likely run by fossil fuels. To produce fewer carbon emissions, seek out a sustainable green energy source.
On average, if you recharge your electric vehicle with an electricity plant that’s powered by coal, the amount of CO2 emitted is the equivalent of a gas-powered car that gets 29 miles per gallon.
However, while coal releases more pollutants than oil, the electric car’s regenerative braking system helps even that out.
Let’s say a Tesla Model S burns about 286 pounds of coal per 100 miles. You’re looking at about 310 kilograms of carbon released into the atmosphere, which is about 40 kilograms less than a car with an internal combustion engine.
Now that you have the tools to calculate how much carbon emissions your car produces each time it’s charged, you can get back to watching more documentaries about our incredible planet!
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