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Volvo has revealed how "dirty" its production of electric cars is.  The comparison can be shocking

Volvo has revealed how “dirty” its production of electric cars is. The comparison can be shocking

Is an electric car really greener than an internal combustion car? Even if we include emissions from production, mining, shipping, refueling, and the full life cycle of both cars? Volvo has made an interesting contribution to this debate. She published her own study, which compares the carbon footprint of the C40 electric car and the classic XC40 SUV with a conventional engine.

The production of an electric vehicle results in 70% more emissions than the production of the same vehicle with an internal combustion engine. This is perhaps the most important conclusion of a study published by Swedish car maker Volvo Motors.

It was based on a comparison of its own models: the electric SUV coupe C40 Recharge and the classic variant of the compact SUV XC40 with a petrol engine. The related models stand on the same platform and share a number of parts, and the electric SUV coupe is more aerodynamic thanks to the sloping rear.

The carbon footprint of each was compared. The extraction of the necessary raw materials and the individual production processes of component suppliers were also reflected in the emissions arising during production.

It has been emphasized that electric cars have a dirtier carbon footprint even before they leave the assembly line. The battery itself, which can account for nearly a third of production emissions, has a lot to do in terms of materials and parts. The more aluminum is used in production, the production of which requires a lot of energy.

Electric cars are only greener during operation

However, the tipping point comes when the carbon footprint begins to depend on the age of the car. Volvo sets it at 200,000 km and takes into account the overall results, operation, refueling, combustion emissions, recycling and disposal of the vehicle.

After that, the electric vehicle starts to be “greener” and its total carbon footprint calculated for the entire vehicle lifecycle becomes cleaner than the conventional version.

Volvo even calculated when the breakage will occur. Of course, it depends on how the electricity is produced and charged in the electric car – so the automaker put together three scenarios:

Using the current global energy mix (about 60% of its electricity is made from fossil fuels), the electric Volvo C40 has to travel nearly 110,000 km (109,918 km) before becoming more environmentally friendly than an internal combustion engineer. Considering production and operation during the entire life cycle, the electric vehicle will generate 15% less emissions than the combustion version.

But once experts calculated the EU’s energy mix alone, total emissions fell by 30% and the tipping point came much earlier. Simply because the European Union uses more renewable resources than the global average. The carbon footprint of the electric C40 matches the combustion of the XC40 after just 77,000 kilometers (77,248 km).

The third scenario is still more theoretical – it assumes that only electricity from renewable sources will be used to recharge the electric vehicle. The electric vehicle’s total carbon footprint will be half that of an internal combustion engine, and the electric will start an environmental “push” as soon as less than 50,000 km (48,280 km). Even with the exclusive use of “green electricity”, the C40 Recharge will leave a trail of approximately 27 tons of CO2 over its entire life cycle.

Volvo: We need clean energy

According to the automaker, Volvo’s research shows that electric cars are not automatically “greener” than cars with conventional engines, but can become greener while they are in operation. Consequently, Volvo is calling for more investment in clean energy so that the potential of electric cars can be fully exploited. “We need green energy throughout the supply and production chain, not just shipping,” said Jonas Otterheim, Head of Climate Action at Volvo.

Volvo, which belongs to the Chinese giant Geely, presented its electric SUV coupe C40 Recharge only this spring, the electric version XC40 Recharge has been offered since 2019. It has very ambitious plans in the field of electrification in Europe – until 2030 it wants to offer electric only cars and combustion engines The procedure of her portfolio completely eliminated.

As early as 2025, Volvo wants to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% per car compared to 2018. With that in mind, it wants to eliminate a quarter of its emissions during production – including increasing the proportion of recycled materials, including aluminum.

According to a recent study by the European Union for Transport and the Environment, Volvo and Volkswagen are the only two large carmakers in Europe with sufficiently credible and consistent strategies to transition to electric mobility and meet the goals of the Green Agreement. Volkswagen wants to sell 55% of its headlight cars by 2030.

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