– This study is full of mistakes and is based on a completely incorrect basis of comparison, says Christina Bu, Secretary General of the Electric Car Association.
E24 announced yesterday a recent study by the Ifo (Institute of Economic Research) in Munich that showed how electric cars have a greater CO₂ footprint than the diesel-powered ones.
The survey applies to German cars and not to Norwegians.
The researchers made the so-called life cycle analysis, where they calculated the energy they spend to charge an electric car – in Germany, a significant proportion comes from coal power – and emissions associated with production.
This calculation shows that a Tesla Model 3 has between 11 and 28 percent more CO₂ emissions than what is used as a comparable diesel car, a Mercedes 220d.
The research has created headlines in the German media – as well as reactions in Norway:
"Here, the researchers used numbers that make the electric car look as dirty as possible and the opposite to the diesel car," says Bu at the Norwegian electric car association.
Too many high and low numbers
The first mistake that Bu points out is that the electric car battery should be replaced after ten years and 150,000 miles.
– Not even the car manufacturers themselves operate with a life span of just ten years and we already have electric cars that have been on the road for longer than that. Do not leave. In addition, the batteries have a second life outside the electric car, which means that the actual life time is much higher.
That means the electric car looks dirtier than it really is, says Bru.
She believes that an even bigger mistake is how clean they get with the diesel car.
– Last year, the EU changed its measurement method for car emissions, from NEDC to WLTP. The problem with the old method was that in several cases it showed emission levels that were actually 40% lower than the car actually released and therefore the EU has changed. But researchers use the old method when calculating diesel emissions from Mercedes.
– In the study, it is assumed that the Mercedes can run on NEDC consumption all the time. This corresponds to 0.45 liters per mile. But the reality is not so, says Bu and refers to the numbers of Spritmonitor.de, a German site where the users themselves report the fuel consumption.
Here, the average is about 0.65 liters per kilometer, that is, 42% more.
Different from other studies
Thor Egil Braadland, senior policy researcher at NAF, supports Bu to the extent that there is little involvement in the Ifo study.
He points out that the researchers also omitted to calculate the environmental costs associated with producing what the diesel car needs but that the electric car does not need – like the internal combustion engine and the exhaust system.
– It is also not included in the reduced maintenance efforts as a result of fewer moving parts in an electric car, he says and points out that almost all other studies on the subject show opposite results.
For example, in March, the Fraunhofer ISI (Institute for Research in Systems and Innovation) published an article which concludes that electric cars purchased and used in Germany today have a much smaller CO2 footprint than fossil fuel vehicles .
Diesel cars will not stand a chance over time
Senior researcher Glen Peters at Cicero has not studied the numbers behind the analysis, but emphasizes that it is irrelevant to emphasize the current mix of electricity (where coal still makes up a large proportion in Germany) if it is to discuss the climatic effect of the electric car.
– There is only one way with the electric mixer, so electric cars will, over time, make it better measure against diesel over time. And finally, diesel cars will not have a chance to keep up, he says.
Christina Bu i Elbilforeningen points out another important factor: that the energy consumption from the electricity billing enters the sector subject to quotas, as opposed to gasoline and diesel.
– One can argue whether this scheme is perfect, but the fact is that we have a quota ceiling that guarantees that there will be no more CO2 emissions, although several vehicles are driving electric cars.