Electric vehicles do require more energy to build than their combustion engine counterparts. But that’s only half of the story.
According to a recent Volkswagen Group study, manufacturing the ID.3 electric hatchback (including processing raw materials) produces almost twice as much CO2 as the equivalent petrol or diesel Golf. However, it adds, even without factoring in the carbon-neutral factory where the ID.3 is built, lifecycle CO2 emissions comfortably undercut both versions of the Golf.
This isn’t an unusual scenario. New research suggests whole-life CO2 emissions for an electric car are lower than a petrol equivalent in almost every country across the world.
Meanwhile, vehicle manufacturers are shifting factories to renewable energy, creating local supply chains to avoid long-distance shipping and CO2 emissions for electricity production are falling too. The average carbon intensity of the UK grid was two thirds lower in 2020 than in 2013, and the ambition is net zero emissions by 2025. All of these steps help to extend the environmental benefits compared to a petrol or diesel car.