Electric Vehicles: Environment Protection

Department for Transport written question – answered on 8th February 2019.

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Photo of Chris Law Chris Law Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made a whole life assessment of the overall environmental impact, including vehicle construction, power generation and disposal, of the scrapping of small, medium and large internal combustion engine powered vehicles and their replacement by equivalent electrically powered vehicles; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Government has carried out a relative assessment, in terms of air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, of different fuel and powertrain options based on outputs from the Transport Energy Model. The modelling makes clear that, even with the current electricity grid emissions, battery electric vehicles are estimated to have greenhouse gas emissions 66% lower than a petrol car and 60% lower than a diesel car. Between now and 2050 the Government project that grid emissions will fall by around 90% with total emissions from electric vehicles falling in parallel.

As well as considering the greenhouse gas emissions from energy production, the Government have also considered the emissions from battery production. As battery production is an energy intensive process, the Government would also expect these emissions to fall over the period to 2050. The results are clear that battery electric vehicles have substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional vehicles even when taking into account the electricity source and electricity used for battery production.

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