Study compares emissions from combustion vehicles and EVs globally

The International Council on Clean Transportation has published a new global comparison investigating the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of combustion engine and fully electric passenger cars. The organization calls it a wide-ranging life-cycle assessment (LCA) that looks at the greenhouse gas emissions of passenger cars, including SUVs. The assessment was performed separately and in-depth for Europe, the US, China, and India.

Combined, those markets account for about 70 percent of global new passenger car sales. In addition, the study authors considered present and projected future greenhouse gas emissions attributable to every state in the lifecycles of vehicles and fuels, ranging from extracting and processing raw material through refining and manufacturing operations all the way to the eventual recycling and disposal of vehicles.

The study considered all relevant powertrain types, including plug-in hybrid vehicles and various fuel types, including biofuel, electrofuels, hydrogen, and electricity. The emissions of cars registered in 2021 are compared to emissions cars expected to be registered in 2030. Results from the study show that even for cars registered today, battery electric vehicles have "by far the lowest life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions."

The emissions over the lifetime of an average medium-sized battery electric vehicle registered today are already lower than any comparable gasoline-powered car by 66 to 69 percent in Europe, 60 to 68 percent in the US, 37 to 45 percent in China, and 19 to 34 percent in India. Study authors claim that the lifecycle emissions gap between battery electric vehicles and gasoline vehicles increases substantially when considering medium-sized cars projected to be registered in 2030. Another item of note in this particular study is that it incorporated near-term global warming potential of methane leakage emissions of natural gas and natural-gas derived hydrogen.