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Boom and bust

Danielle Batist
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piqer: Danielle Batist
Saturday, 11 November 2017

The Green Economics Of Electric Cars

I’ve been following De Correspondent’s Mobility and Clean Tech correspondent Thalia Verkade for a while and find her articles useful. This one, about the ‘greenness’ of electric cars versus gasoline cars, recently got translated into English so I thought I’d share it here. When debating our next car purchase recently, I found myself asking many of the questions Verkade attempts to answer in this article.

• How much greenhouse gas is released in mining the car’s raw materials, often on the other side of the world, as a result of the (possibly fossil-sourced) energy used in the mining process?

• How much is released in refining those materials and in manufacturing and disposing of the car and its battery?

• And how much is released in generating the electricity the car uses?

She approaches her research in three stages, comparing emission levels of gas versus electric cars on manufacturing, fuel production and on-the-road emissions. She finds that although an electric car’s battery belches out a bunch of CO2 at the beginning, electric cars are still much cleaner, because “producing both a car and its fuel ultimately contribute far less to its CO2 emissions than the actual driving”.

She also highlights the EU climate goals, stating that by 2050 it wants to cut CO2 emissions from road traffic by 60%. This story goes some way in explaining how we might get there.

The piece is also a great example of collaborative journalism. As you can see below the article, there is a word of thanks to readers and others who contributed to the piece with sources, fact checking and proof-reading. 

The Green Economics Of Electric Cars
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