EVs proven to deliver lower emissions, even on a coal-powered electric grid

By February 19, 2021 News

Research has shown that an electricified passenger fleet can already make substantial emissions reductions even if the majority of the electricity grid remains powered by coal.

The study, published in December by Transport Energy/Emission Research, makes a detailed comparison of emissions from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The details below show just how much can be saved by going electric right now and provides optimism for the future.

Reductions for a fully electrified passenger fleet (Coal-Powered Grid/Renewables Ratio):

  • 100/0: Emissions would reduce by 5-29 per cent.
  • 80/20: Emissions would reduce by 16-40 per cent.
  • 10/90: Emissions would reduce by 70-80 per cent.

The 80/20 ratio is the energy mix that was detected in 2018, with further work on sustainable solutions in the works for Australia’s electricity grid to increase renewables. Robin Smit, director of Transport Energy/Emission Research and author of the report, said that full electrification was the way towards an effective emissions reduction strategy.

“Rapid electrification of the Australian passenger vehicle fleet is a robust way to substantially reduce life-cycle greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from road transport,” he wrote.

“For each BEV sold, it would immediately provide significant reductions in GHG emissions per passenger vehicle kilometre travelled.

“It is therefore essential that BEV sales are promoted now to ensure that a significant level of electrification is achieved in 2030 in the Australian on-road fleet. The GHG emission benefits of electric vehicles will only increase further over time as the Australian electricity grid becomes decarbonised.”

The findings differ substantially with the government’s EV strategy, which cast doubt over the economic benefits of battery electrics. Details of that discussion paper are available here.

Here at AfMA there’s been a keen response from our members when asked about their electric vehicle journey on our LinkedIn social media page this week – with 54 per cent of respondants either already using electric vehicles or looking to purchase in 2021.

  • 46% Already have EVs in my fleet
  • 8% Will be purchasing in 2021
  • 31% Keen, but still researching
  • 15% Not interested in purchasing

One organisation that is already making huge leaps in the EV space is AfMA’s Fleet Environment Award Winners Moreland City Council. Perhaps you or another organisation you know is taking an EV focus into 2021 – shoot us an email at info@afma.org.au and they could be in the running to be our 2021 Fleet Award winner!