A report released earlier this month took into account the entire life cycle of hybrid, electric and gas powered cars — analyzing everything from gathering resources to disposing of used vehicles — and revealed definitively that hybrid and electric vehicles are greener from a whole systems approach. The report discovered that although the emissions created during the manufacturing and disposal of hybrid and electric vehicle battery parts is higher than that of gas powered vehicles, their lower operating emissions more than make up for that difference. From start to finish the hybrid and electric vehicles come out on top — or rather on the bottom of the emissions scale — and they are much more friendly to the earth when all is said and done.

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The report was compiled by Ricardo in partnership with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and it sought to highlight the importance of measuring not just gas mileage and emissions, but also the rest of what goes into making and disposing of a car. The report discovered that a typical mid-size family car would create about 24 tons of CO2 during its entire life cycle, while an electric vehicle creates just 18 tons of CO2 over its life — of that 18 tons, 46% of the emissions are created before the car even leaves the factory.

The report discovered that most of the manufacturing carbon emissions for traditional internal combustion engine vehicles come from manufacturing the steel used in the vehicles frame — which then contributes to emissions later in the cycle because heavier vehicles require more gas to operate. The report discussed the idea that creating lighter vehicles with less steel would bring down not only the emissions in the manufacturing process but the emissions from operation as well. The report also noted that much of the emissions from car production are caused by carbon-based electricity that powers automotive plants, and as Greg Archer, LowCVP Managing Director, said, “the automotive industry is already taking positive steps to address this issue – the recent announcement by Toyota of a solar array to provide electricity to power the hybrid Auris production facility and wind power at the Nissan Leaf plant are excellent examples of this.”

+ Read the full report

Via Triple Pundit