The Environmental Impact of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

According to recent research by Rystad Energy, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are the most effective option for reducing emissions in the transportation sector. Despite the higher emissions during the manufacturing process and the continued reliance on fossil fuel power in many countries, the overall environmental impact of switching to BEVs is undeniable.

The research took into account the entire lifecycle of BEVs, including factors such as manufacturing, maintenance, and operation. Regardless of the country of operation, BEVs contribute at most half the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions of diesel or gasoline cars over their lifetime. Even in countries with fossil-fuel-dominated power grids, BEVs emit approximately 50% of the CO2e of an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle.

As nations transition to cleaner power sources, the emissions from BEVs are expected to decrease even further, solidifying their position as a sustainable transportation option. In the US, for example, a BEV emits 42 tonnes of CO2e across its life, 58% lower than a gasoline or diesel vehicle that emits over 100 tonnes.

The research considered every stage of the manufacturing process and the vehicle’s operation, including the environmental impacts associated with EV manufacturing, battery production, and associated mining. However, the focus was solely on the emissions comparison between BEVs and traditional-fuel vehicles.

Overall, battery electric vehicles are proven to be the right technology for reducing emissions in the transportation sector. Despite the initial environmental impact in the vehicle’s early life, switching to a BEV will lead to significant emissions reductions in the long run and accelerate the energy transition.