How green are electric vehicles?
Modern electric cars produce significantly fewer planet-warming tailpipe-emissions than most cars with internal combustion engines. EVs are greener over time, too, despite the more emissions-intensive battery manufacturing process. Various aspects of the eco-balance sheet are addressed below.
Life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions (g CO2/km)
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) is an independent nonprofit organisation founded to provide first-rate, unbiased research and technical and scientific analysis to environmental regulators.
Their study, which is referenced above, looked at the overall product lifecycle greenhouse emissions of different types of powertrains. When you look at the results portrayed in the bar graph here, you can see that an electric vehicle can have a smaller overall carbon footprint than traditional petrol and diesel cars – in spite of the fact that its energy intense battery emits more CO2 in the manufacturing phase than an internal combustion engine.
Depending on the national power mix, the CO2 emissions for the production of the fuel (petrol or electric energy) vary across European countries, e.g. Norway produces a lot of energy from hydropower and therefore emits almost no CO2 when generating energy for electric vehicles. On the other hand, countries like Germany or the Netherlands have a more CO2 emitting power mix. But once the electric energy is produced it does not emit additional tailpipe emissions as internal combustion engines do.
So, the more renewable energy is used to produce and charge electric vehicles and the more batteries are recycled, driving an electric vehicle becomes even more eco-friendly.
The carbon impacts of producing the actual car are pretty even when comparing electric with traditional cars.
However, producing the powerful batteries that take you as far as you want to go is a very energy-consuming process, starting with the mining of raw materials such as nickel, copper, cobalt, graphite and rare earth elements like neodymium and lithium.
Overall, the energy to build a car is far less than the energy used to run it over its life. This means by the time an electric vehicle is just a few years old, it has offset its manufacturing deficit.
An international initiative.RE100, which stands for ‘Renewable Energy 100 Percent’, is a global initiative led by the Climate Group bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100 % renewable energy. Members are required to submit mid-to-long-term renewable energy power securing plans within a year after joining. Hyundai has been a member since 2021.
Conversion to renewable energy.An important milestone in our carbon neutrality plans is the shift toward using 100% renewable energy in all our manufacturing plants worldwide by 2045. In Europe we will begin with the first conversion at our plant in the Czech Republic.
A net-zero automotive parts supply chain.A significant driver of Hyundai's competitiveness in the electric vehicle sector is our network of outstanding parts suppliers. Hyundai will continue to monitor and support all partners in their own carbon neutrality journey, providing guidelines, education and creating a cooperation program for our entire supply chain, including raw materials.
Beyond eco-friendly: smart plants.The Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS) will serve as a hub for creating an innovative mobility ecosystem and research on the mobility-related value chain, including vehicle delivery, test-driving, and other services. HMGICS will evolve into a net-zero manufacturing hub through solar and hydrogen power generation. 1
Using recycled PET bottles can inspire people to think about how products that are easily thrown away could be turned into something new. Of course, it would be better if PET bottles didn’t exist at all.
*Range shown is according to WLTP combined cycle. Driving range may vary slightly depending on road conditions, your driving style and the temperature. It is also is dependent on the type of tyres equipped. Technical data not final.
** Charging time is based on charging with on 32A wallbox and 3.3 kW OBC. Charging times may vary depending on available charging conditions, including charger type and condition, battery temperature and ambient temperature at point of use.