CO2 from electric cars “40% lower” than for ICE cars, says Bloomberg

Electric cars created 40% less CO2 per mile than petrol or diesel cars in 2018, even when using electricity from coal-fired power stations

Research by Bloomberg NEF into the amount of CO2 created by electric cars charging up from the grid has shown that “carbon-dioxide emissions from battery-powered vehicles were about 40% lower than for internal combustion engines" during 2018.

The research included data taken from the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Japan. While the difference proved biggest in the UK, even in China (which is still heavily dependent on coal for its electricity), electric cars proved to be 40% more efficient in terms of their CO2 output per mile. 

The gap in CO2 output between ICE (internal combustion engine) cars and electric cars is only set to grow as mains power becomes increasingly renewable. Bloomberg has forecast that “the global share of zero-carbon electricity generation is set to increase from 38% last year to 63% by 2040.” 

The predicted growth in renewable electricity production in the UK could see electric car CO2 output dropping by “as much as 90%” by 2040, according to Bloomberg NEF’s forecast. 

This news comes on the heels of the world’s first Carbon Intensity forecast. Launched by the National Grid ESO, Oxford University, WWF and the Environmental Defence Fund Europe, the Carbon Intensity API offers a regional forecast up to 96 hours ahead, so that consumers in the UK can see the best and worst times to charge in terms of mains-power carbon efficiency in their area.

The UK currently generates around 43% of its electricity from gas-powered stations, while renewable sources – including solar, wind and hydro – account for around 27%. The rest comes from nuclear, biomass, coal and imported energy.