New study finds out that electric cars do more damage to the environment than petrol powered vehicles due to polluting methods of electricity generation.

Nissan Leaf Vehicle-to-Building Program
Electricity generated by coal is considered as the most polluting

A recent US based study concludes that electric cars turn out to be more polluting for the environment as opposed to conventionally powered vehicles. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, the study states that electric-car owners in places where electricity is produced from burning coal contribute more than three times the amount of pollution to the environment compared to a petrol powered car during the same period. The study examined environmental costs for the car’s entire life cycle including sourcing for power and the environmental effects of building batteries.

Co-written by Julian Marshall, an engineering professor, the study points out that the key issue with all-electric cars is as to where the electricity is being sourced from. In places where electricity is generated using coal, electric cars contribute 3.6 times more soot and smog than conventional fuel because of the process involved in generating electricity. The pollutants are significantly worse at heat-trapping carbon dioxide that worsens the issue of global warming further.

Furthermore, the study found out that all-electric vehicles caused 86 percent more deaths from air pollution than what conventionally powered cars did. In contrast, cars powered by natural gas emit half as many air pollutants, while those running on unconventional sources like wind, water or wave energy produce one-quarter of air-pollution deaths. The study also pointed out that ethanol which is considered to be less polluting has 80 percent more air pollution mortality.

In essence, the study does not conclude that electric cars are polluting but it is sourcing the electricity that needs to be restructured. More emphasis needs to be laid on using unconventional sources like wind, solar and water for creating electricity, which will truly be the purest form of energy with no emissions. Until then, if you were planning to save the environment with an electric vehicle, you are better off buying a conventional petrol car instead.

Tesla ModelS Sedan
The study concludes that petrol powered vehicles are less polluting than electric cars