The total footprint of an e-car is smaller than an internal combustion engine vehicle today and will get even better.
To make a fair comparison, it’s important to look at the full life cycle of a car. The ecological footprint depends on both the production process and the emissions during use.
Energy used in production
The CO2 footprint of producing a fully electric vehicle (EV) today is greater than that of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE). The different steps in battery production require significant amounts of energy and therefore CO2 emissions. The most emission-intense step is manufacturing the battery’s active materials.
No CO2 when driving
During the use phase the car emits zero CO2. Of course, the electricity generated to charge the battery can come from sources ranging from 100% green (e.g. wind or solar power) to 100% fossil fuel (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil). However, green electricity production is expected to significantly rise and the picture will look different in a few years.
Over the car life cycle, electric mobility plus increasing green electricity will deliver a lower overall CO2 footprint than ICE cars. EVs in the EU already emit almost 60% less CO2 on average today.
Emission benefit compared to ICE by vehicle size and geography, base case 2030
Looking at the three main markets (China, Europe and US), by 2030 the CO2 advantage of an EV during its life cycle versus an ICE vehicle will range from 19% (large vehicle, low share of renewable energy) up to 60% (small vehicle, high share of renewable energy) by 2030.