Emissions (gCO2) produced by an electric car per 1 km
The carbon footprint of a gasoline car (180 gCO2e/km) or diesel car (170 gCO2e/km), which are currently the most common types of vehicles.
Four categories of countries can be distinguished in Europe:
1. Countries where electricity is mainly generated from renewable sources, such as Iceland or Norway, where hydropower produces almost all electricity. In those countries, electric car is a real solution to fight climate change (these are all green(ish) in the map).
2. Countries where electricity is mainly generated by nuclear power plants. In France, Slovakia and Hungary, nuclear power plants generate respectively 77%, 57% and 54% of electricity. In those countries, electric cars carbon footprint is lower than traditional thermic cars since nuclear power plants don’t produce carbon dioxide, but the nuclear waste question still remains.
3. Countries where electricity is mainly generated from natural gas. Electric car carbon footprint is globally equal to diesel car or gasoline car. Netherlands, Germany and UK gather more than 60% of electric cars in the UE, with more than 190 000 vehicles in 2015 even though there is no “climate” interest at all.
4. Countries where electric cars produce more greenhouse gases than thermic car since electricity is largely generated from coal or oil shale. In Poland and Estonia, electric cars produce respectively 30% and 60% more CO2 than gasoline cars. Last June, the Polish Government presented the objective of one million electric cars in 2025, but such a situation would raise greenhouse gases emissions by additional 900 000 tons of CO2e a year.