Electric cars are touted to be the greener, more planet-friendly alternatives to the conventional fuel consuming ones. However, skeptics have often wondered about the efficacy of these ‘green’ alternatives, if they are really serving the purpose they are meant to serve. A new study may help put these speculations to rest. It was found that electric cars are comparatively environment-friendly almost everywhere in the world and can help fight climate change.
The study was jointly conducted by a team of researchers from the universities of Cambridge, Exeter, and Nijmegen. It found that even if electricity generation depended on fossil fuels, it would still render the option of electric cars more viable and greener than conventional fuel cars.
However, it did point out that the source of electricity makes them more or less green and only in 95% of the world is this a viable option for the environment. For instance, the researchers found that in Poland, a country which still mainly depends on coal for electricity generation, will not find the transition to electric cars suitable.
“The idea that electric vehicles or electric heat pumps could increase emissions is essentially a myth,” said lead author Dr. Florian Knobloch, from the University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands. “We’ve seen a lot of discussion about this recently, with lots of disinformation going around. Here is a definitive study that can dispel those myths. We have run the numbers all around the world, looking at a whole range of cars and heating systems. Even in our worst-case scenario, there would be a reduction in emissions in almost all cases. This insight should be very useful for policy-makers.”
On the other hand, the research projected that every alternate car could be electric by 2050 and even inefficient electric cars would perform better than petrol cars in the next few years. Such a future would also mean 1.5 gigatons per year reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
The paper, now published in the Nature Sustainability journal, also suggests that electric household heat pumps would perform better than traditional options in 95% of the world.