Whether EVs are actually kinder to the environment than the internal combustion engine, very much depends on the type of EV and its type of use.
Green NCAP independently assess vehicles on emissions and energy consumption and recently introduced an interactive Life Cycle Assessment Tool. Using this tool, we compared a Toyota Yaris 1.5 Hybrid to a Nissan Leaf (62 kWh). Using an average of 20,000km per year and a total life of 16 years, together with Ireland’s current energy profile, the comparison tool produces some very interesting figures, on Estimated Life Cycle Greenhouse Gases per Phase Tonnes CO2-Equivalent.
The Leaf comes out with a total figure of 28.8 tonnes. This is made up of: vehicle production 9.7 t, battery production 5.2 t, energy supply 14.1 t, maintenance 1.7 t and End-of-Life 1.9t. By comparison, the figures for the Yaris Hybrid are: vehicle production 6.8 t, energy supply 5 t, direct emissions 14.6 t, maintenance 1.4 t and End-of-Life 0.8t. This gives a total of 27.1 tonnes 1.7 tonnes less than the electric Leaf. This illustrates that when all life style factors are taken into account, it is possible for a petrol hybrid to produce less total emissions than a fully electric.
The tool can be found at https://www.greenncap.com/lca-tool