9,000-Pound Hummer EV Pollutes More Than a Gas-Powered Chevy Malibu
The hype says electric vehicles are much better for the environment than their gas-powered counterparts.
But the truth is more nuanced, as evidenced by the Hummer EV, according to a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The report by Peter Huether pointed out that just because electric vehicles do not spew carbon dioxide does not mean they don’t have any environmental impact.
Calling the factor “upstream emissions,” Huether noted that when an EV owner charges his or her car, that electricity comes from an electric grid powered by fossil fuels.
Because of that, as well as the weight of batteries, “emissions per mile driven are lower for EVs than for similarly sized gasoline-powered cars, but they are not zero,” Huether wrote.
To make his point, he compared the gasoline-powered Chevy Malibu to the all-electric Hummer EV, which tips the scales at 9,000 pounds.
The Malibu comes out the winner in the emissions duel, with 320 grams of emissions per mile against 341 grams per mile for the Hummer EV.
The bottom line: “Behemoth EVs can still be worse for the environment than smaller, conventional vehicles.”
Admonishing readers that “all EVs are not created equal, so let’s not treat them like they are,” Huether said that the efficiency of electric vehicles remains a neglected concept.
“The less electricity needed to drive a mile, the fewer the emissions from electricity generation, and the more money saved by drivers. Greater efficiency can also mean that automakers could reduce battery size to achieve the same range, leading to less mining and fewer embodied emissions,” he wrote.
In considering what EVs pump into the environment, Huether said that what is unseen still matters.
Everything from the manufacturing process to the mining process to extract the materials needed for batteries impacts the overall package of how much society at large benefits from electric vehicles.
Huether suggested a new rating system that does not give every EV a perfect rating for emissions and explained how the current standard is deceiving.
“At the moment, regulators calculate the emissions from gasoline vehicles and set requirements for automakers, but EVs are counted as causing no CO2 emissions,” he wrote.
“This means the sale of an EV Hummer can offset the sale of a highly polluting gasoline vehicle and increase emissions overall. … All EVs do not have the same impact on the environment, and our vehicle regulations should reflect that.”
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