In Ireland Which Is Cleaner – A Battery Electric Tesla or A 1.4 Petrol Golf?

Contained within the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) 2016 report titled CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion we see that the intensity of CO2 emissions in electricity generation was 468 gCO2/kWh. In other words, for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated, there was an equivalent amount of CO2 producted (468 grammes).

If you fully charged your – let’s say for arguments sake – Tesla Model S 100D which has a range of 335 miles (536 km). That means, it takes about 110 kilowatt hours to fully charge which in turn means there is an environmental hit of 468 x 110 = 51.48 kg of CO2. Breaking this down a bit further it means that our electric car “produces” 96 grams of CO2 for every kilometre driven.

Take a very popular car in Ireland – the Golf 5 door Highline. It’s got 150hp and it produces, 121g/km.

So, with those very rough figures it can be seen that the electric car is cleaner than the petrol car – not a whole lot cleaner, but cleaner nonetheless.
It would be nice to say that in the future it would be likely that electricity will become cleaner, but from 2014 to 2015 there was an uptick in the CO2 produced per kWh, so let’s hope that the pickup in the economy is not going to result in dirtier electricity. Let’s hope too that Brexit isn’t going to force us to start using coal again.

If you see any glaring mistakes, please add to the conversation and I’ll update as we go.

How much cleaner would a hydrogen car be? More on that next week 🙂

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