A team at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) study has assessed the relative amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions from driving a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) compared with greenhouse-gas emissions from driving a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle in different countries of the world.
Indirect emissions from BEVs depend on the mix of fuel sources used to generate electricity; countries differ widely in their fuel-source mix. For example, Albania (which generates 100% of its electricity from hydroelectric power) would have an average 5,100.0 MPGghg (0.05 L/100 km) for a BEV; on the other extreme are Botswana and Gibraltar (which generate 100% of their electricity from coal and oil), each with 29.0 MPGghg (8.1 L/100 km). The corresponding value for the US is 55.4 MPGghg (4.2 L/100 km)—interestingly, close to the 54.5 mpge target for the US EPA’s current GHG regulations for 2025. The average for the world is 51.5 MPGghg (4.6 L/100 km).
China currently comes in at 40.0 MPGghg (5.9 L/100 km).
|Color-coded world map of MPG-equivalent values (MPGghg) for BEVs. Source: Sivak and Schoettle. Click to enlarge.|
The team—Dr. Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle—did not consider the emissions associated with manufacturing each vehicle type in their analysis.
The analysis used two key sets of data:
BEV miles-per-gallon-equivalent values based on well-to-wheels emissions of various electricity fuel sources calculated by the Union of Concerned Scientists; and
country-specific electricity production by fuel source compiled by the International Energy Agency.
For each individual country, the calculations derived an equivalent fuel-economy value at which both BEVs and gasoline-powered vehicles produce the same amount of greenhouse-gas emissions. In other words, the calculations derived, for each country, a fuel-economy value that a gasoline-powered vehicle would have to exceed to produce lower emissions than a typical BEV, and vice versa.
Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle (2017) “Fuel Sources for Electricity in the Individual Countries of the World and the Consequent Emissions from Driving Electric Vehicles”