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.

Greener than you might have thought.

Fully-electric vehicles allow for 100% tailpipe-emission free driving. Therefore they play an important role in reducing global carbon emissions. A study published by the think tank The International Council on Clean Transportation found that the overall carbon footprints of electric vehicles are smaller than those of traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines. Find out more below.

Life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions (g CO2/km)

 
Source: https://theicct.org/publications/eu-co2-FS6-jul2021

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.

See how IONIQ 5 takes sustainability to a higher level.

See how plants are turned into components. Flowers turned into paint, and recycled bottles turned into fabric. Environmentally friendly materials are used extensively in IONIQ 5. The innovative use of natural materials is another contribution to sustainability in our manufacturing processes, making the IONIQ 5 less reliant on oil-based products.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing & Recycling.

The chassis of a Hyundai electric vehicle getting painted.

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.

The positioning of the battery inside the Hyundai electric vehicles protecting you and the battery.

Electric Global Modular Platform.

E-GMP accommodates a wide range of vehicles, driving distances, and lifestyles through a standardised battery system equipped with technology optimised for EVs.
A battery from a Hyundai electric vehicle which can be reused or partly upcycled.

Upcycling and re-using.

All our batteries are built to have a 2nd and 3rd life. As a result, they can be re-used and/or partly upcycled into a second life battery energy storage system.
  1. A Hyundai research institution to improve their electric vehicles sustainability.

    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.
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  1. A Hyundai green factory trying to improve their electric vehicles sustainability.

    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.
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  1. Hyundai construction robots which will be using 100% renewable energy worldwide by 2045.

    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. 
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  1. Hyundai construction robots which will be using 100% renewable energy worldwide by 2045.

    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
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A pregnant woman standing in front of a beautiful lake.

Carbon Neutrality 2045.

Hyundai is in progress to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 by neutralising CO2 emissions at all stages of production and operation.

Materials

Calling you to create a more sustainable world.

The engineers and designers who developed the IONIQ 5 felt called to do whatever they could to make a change in the world. The use of environmentally friendly and natural materials, for example, makes the IONIQ 5 less reliant on oil-based products. It's your turn now.
  1. For each Hyundai IONIQ 5 plastic bottles are shredded into chips for sustainable upholstery fabric.

    Recycled bottles turned to fabric.

    For each IONIQ 5, up to 32 plastic bottles are shredded into plastic chips. Those chips are melted and spun into thread that makes an inviting, woven upholstery fabric.

  2. Hyundai uses bio components extracted from sugar cane and corn as sustainable materials for the IONIQ 5.

    Plants turned to components for seats and carpets.

    The seat, headlining and carpet fabric includes bio components extracted from sugar cane and corn, while leather used in the IONIQ 5’s interior is dyed using flaxseed oil.

  3. Hyundai IONIQ 5’s doors and crash pads are painted with bio paint that includes oil extracted from plants.

    Flowers turned to paint.

    The IONIQ 5’s doors and crash pads are painted with bio paint that includes oil extracted from plants such as rape flowers and corn.

    Portrait of Chanki Park, Senior Colour and Trim Designer in the Hyundai CMF Team.
    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.

    - Chanki Park, Senior Color and Trim Designer in the Hyundai CMF Team -

    Real-world examples of our sustainability efforts.

    We are proud of our sustainability management activities – from continually reducing our carbon footprint to partnering with NGOs to make a positive impact in communities and the environment – to leading the drive to build more sustainable cars. Our hydrogen technology is making green hydrogen electricity a viable reality – clean power that will drive low emission mobility for a better future.
    One of the NGOs committed to fight climate change sponsored by Hyundai.

    Our partnership with Healthy Seas.

    Hyundai is partnering with NGO Healthy Seas to remove plastic and discarded fishing nets from the ocean.

    Discover our electrified vehicles.

      *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.