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How EVs Are Reducing Carbon (CO2) Emissions

Posted 09/08/2023

As the world grapples with the pressing issue of climate change, it is evident that we need swift action to avert its worst impacts. One avenue to combat this crisis is a rapid reduction in carbon emissions from our daily transportation, one of the leading contributors of CO2 emissions. Enter electric vehicles: a practical step toward reducing carbon emissions and reinforcing sustainable practices. EVs are game changers in the reduction of vehicle emissions. Not only do they eliminate tailpipe emissions, but they also boast greater energy efficiency compared to their gasoline counterparts. This suggests that the shift towards EVs presents a significant opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint by decreasing CO2 emissions and improving air quality. The collective count of electric vehicles, encompassing cars, buses, vans, and large trucks, is anticipated to reach a remarkable 145 million by 2030. There's no better time than now to join the electric vehicle revolution.

The Global Environmental Edge of EVs

The transportation sector is the dominant contributor to carbon emissions and the release of greenhouse gases, and while light-duty passenger cars were an early focus for the EV industry, larger cars and fleet vehicles represent a new opportunity for emissions reductions. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that in recent years, trends in the vehicle market shifted from smaller sedans and wagons to SUVs and pickup trucks, with SUVs making up 45% and pickups making up 15% of the model year 2021 light-duty vehicle market in the United States. Similarly, the International Agency Agency’s 2023 Global EV Outlook notes that 60% of the available battery electric vehicle (BEV) options in China and Europe were “SUVs and large cars” and that “last year electric SUVs resulted in the displacement of over 150 000 barrels of oil consumption per day and avoided the associated tailpipe emissions that would have been generated through burning the fuel in combustion engines.” EVs have the potential to make a significant difference by reducing carbon emissions and transforming the automotive industry. Unlike internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, EVs emit no direct emissions when running on electricity. The upstream, “well to wheel” emissions of the EV are linked to electricity generation and the electrical grid, with lower emissions in regions that use more renewable energy sources. One study conducted by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) found that when comparing lifecycle emissions (including fuel/electricity production, fuel consumption, maintenance, battery manufacturing, and vehicle manufacturing) of electric vehicles to gasoline or diesel vehicles, “emissions over the lifetime of average medium-size [BEVs] registered today are already lower than comparable gasoline cars by 66%–69% in Europe, 60-80% in the United States, 37%–45% in China, and 19%–34% in India.” Another study found that if people choose to charge their EVs during times when there's less demand on the power grid, we could cut emissions by another 18% – and maybe even allow EVs to support the grid. Let’s not forget our carbon footprint. The typical carbon footprint of an individual in the United States stands at 16 tons, which is one of the highest rates globally, but EVs can help significantly reduce this. As one MIT report found, on average, “a fully electric vehicle emits about 25 percent less carbon than a comparable hybrid car.” A straightforward switch can create a substantial positive effect.

Lifecycle Emissions from EVs

Although EVs do not produce carbon emissions during their operation, manufacturing and producing EVs still often involves the use of fossil fuels. Nonetheless, they remain the top choice for environmentally responsible driving. When we evaluate the emissions produced by EVs, we must consider the entire life cycle, including the sourcing of materials, manufacturing processes, and end-of-life management. Some have contended that the materials used in EV production are equivalent in environmental impact to driving a conventional gas car. However, research conducted by the European Energy Agency states that “even when we account for the source of electricity generation, electric cars emit approximately 17-30% less carbon than gasoline or diesel cars.” Additionally, switching to cleaner energy sources further reduces the environmental impact of generating electricity. At Blink Charging, we prioritize sustainability and continue developing and refining our sustainability practices throughout our organization. In furtherance of this commitment, our Board of Directors established an Environmental, Social & Governance Committee dedicated to researching, developing, and implementing sustainable practices and programs. This year, we have increased our focus on waste reduction, recycling, energy conservation, and exploring more sustainable materials to incorporate into our products. By collectively reducing carbon usage, whether in transportation or production, we can work toward achieving global climate objectives.

More Perks to EVs

EVs are much quieter than ICE vehicles, which makes a noticeable difference in places like cities and suburbs where loud internal combustion engines create high environmental noise. In 2019, the European Union and the United States both mandated minimum noise requirements for electric vehicles operating at low speeds in order to alert nearby pedestrians: “at least 56 decibels when traveling under 12 mph (20 km/h)” in Europe and “43 to 64 decibels when they are moving at less than 18.6 mph” in the United States. Why does this matter? As Nissan noted in an experiment conducted that year in Bangkok, “noise levels [peaked] at above 90db on the street, compared to 21db which is the running noise of a Nissan LEAF powertrain, even quieter than a library (around 30db).” With the average ICE car operating at 75 decibels, the quieter operation of the EV creates a more peaceful atmosphere and reduces the stress caused by noise. EVs also help reduce the "urban heat island" effect. Unlike conventional cars, they don't release as much heat, which can be a problem in cities where streets and buildings trap heat, making the region hotter. As one study found, “a full replacement of traditional internal combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles reduces the near-surface air temperature by up to 0.6°C.” Finally, technology is also making EVs more eco-friendly, and as our energy grid switches to use more renewable sources like wind and solar power, EVs become even better for the environment. They can be charged using clean energy, reducing their environmental impact. As an interactive tool developed by the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center shows, well-to-wheel EV emissions drop in states with higher proportions of renewable energy sourcing: in Washington state, where 65.54% of electricity is hydroelectric, driving an EV only produces 705 pounds of annual carbon emissions versus the national average of 2,817 pounds of CO2 for an EV and 12,594 pounds for a gas vehicle.

Blink’s Reduced CO2 Contribution

Blink Charging is committed to the elimination of carbon emissions and working to create a better climate. We recognize the role that EVs play in the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable future. Blink is now engaged with more than 4,000 automotive dealers in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific to purchase, install, and manage EV charging equipment and services. In Q2, Blink distributed 5,830 L2 chargers, increasing our total number of contracted, sold, and deployed EV charging stations to more than 78,000 worldwide. Through these agreements, we can increase the capability of EVs on the road by producing additional charging locations for consumers to charge their vehicles. This is critical in the continued expansion of EVs on the road. Ready to get started on reducing your own carbon footprint? Click here to get your quote for electric vehicle charging stations today.  

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