Having announced who will sign the Glasgow Declaration on zero-emission cars and vans at COP26, a study by Volvo Motors states that the production process of its C40 Recharge electric coupe-SUV generates 70% more emissions than that of the ICE engine XC40 counterpart. However, when the car’s durability is taken into account, it breaks even and the electric vehicle’s total carbon footprint is lower than that of the ICE vehicle.
The Volvo study painted a similar picture, with the XC40 range comprising all-electric, PHEV and ICE versions of the compact SUV. Their results take into account the full life cycle carbon footprint of each and include raw material extraction, manufacturing processes, refueling and driving the vehicle 124,000 miles (200,000 km) prior to final disposal.
Volvo says the break-even point will depend on how the electricity is generated. The study cites three different scenarios, based on the global average supply of electricity, the EU28’s projected budget of renewable and regular sources and the full renewable energy.
When using the average global energy supply, a Volvo C40 charging he will have to travel 68,300 miles (109,918 km) before breaking even with the ICE XC40 – in this scenario, that’s more than half the life of the car. However, during that lifetime, the EV will account for 15% less overall emissions than the ICE vehicle.
Running the C40 in the EU28 electric scenario doubles the overall emissions reduction to 30 percent and reduces the break-even point to 47.248 km (48,000 miles). And if you’re able to charge your C40 with only renewable energy, the carbon footprint of the electric vehicle is half that of the ICE, with a draw in just over 30,000 miles (48,280 km).
The take away? It would appear that, according to Volvo’s research, electric cars are not simply greener than ICE vehicles, but they can certainly turn out to be more environmentally friendly over time. However, despite being based on the same platform and sharing many parts, producing an electric vehicle results in significantly higher emissions, with batteries alone accounting for nearly a third of them on the C40 and XC40 charging. This essentially burdens electric vehicles with an inflation ecological footprint before they even get off the assembly line, which means, depending on the charging, they need some time to break even compared to ICE-powered models.
H / T To AutoTrader