The Tesla Model S Apparently Puts Out More Whole-Life Emissions Than A Petrol Supermini
The topic of whole-life emissions is a hot potato when it comes to electric cars, which often require very dirty production methods. A new MIT study has proven what EV makers don’t want to hear… sort of
Oh dear. The electric-powered Tesla Model S has been found to produce more whole-life carbon dioxide than a petrol supermini.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which whom Lamborghini is working on future battery tech, studied a group of cars’ production methods, exhaust emissions, potential for recycling and any emissions produced by power plants for the quantity of electricity required, if any.
While the researchers say that emissions from distant power plants are the lesser of two evils when it comes to city centres, the Model S was responsible for 226g/km of CO2 during its lifetime compared to just 192g/km for the humble Mitsubishi Mirage supermini.
Admittedly, we know which one of the two we’d rather put on our driveways, but 34g/km is a significant difference. It’s fresh evidence to back the theory that electric cars are actually no cleaner overall than small petrol ones, although we’d like to see a fairer-looking comparison between, say, a Nissan Leaf and a Volkswagen Golf.
Against a more comparable car, the BMW 750 xDrive, the Model S was reportedly some 159g/km better for the planet over its entire several hundred thousand kilometre lifetime.
It also matters how the Model S in the study gets its energy. In the American Midwest, it may be coal-fired power stations. Parts of northern Europe, for example, are now heavily supplied by renewables. The argument will rumble on…