The full environmental benefits of electric vehicles was thrown into question after Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment published a report stating the need to defossilise electricity sources before EVs can become a key part of emissions reduction.
The UK, the US and France were compared in the study for their indirect EV CO2 output from well to wheels. Hypothetical EV fleets would produce 59% less CO2 emissions in the US, 49% less in the UK and 90% less in France, where much of its electricity is produced from nuclear power stations.
The report concludes that the ability of EVs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions depends on the fuel mix used in electricity generation that charges the batteries.
Dr Oliver Inderwildi, head of the low carbon mobility centre at the Smith School, said: “Decarbonising the generation of electricity must be a priority.”
Professor Sir David King, founding director of the Smith School, added: “The future of our electricity sources remain a crucial issue in many countries as existing sources require replacement, whilst the proliferation of road transport continues to increase emissions. We must seize the opportunity now to defossilise our electricity sources to ensure a low carbon economy which will go hand in hand with a development in electric vehicle transport over the next few years.”