Electric cars not as clean as they seem – Cyprus Mail

The electricity authority proudly announced in August that they have purchased six electric cars in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.

And at a first look the numbers are indeed impressive. According to information by the authority, the six cars save 3,096 litres of liquid fuel per year, and emissions drop by 5.52 tonnes.

The engineers explained how they calculated this amount, and it makes sense. It turns out, however, that one crucial calculation is missing – how many carbon emissions it takes to produce the energy required for charging the six electric vehicles, which are powered through the main grid.

Their analysis is specific as far as it goes. The engineers didn’t just compare their new cars to any average car, but to petrol cars similar to the Nissan leaf model and Ford Fiestas, which are also new. They also took into account how many kilometres the average car belonging to the company travels per year.

This helps when calculating the savings in petrol. Comparing the electric cars to the Ford Fiesta 1.5 saloon which uses 5.16 litres per 100 kilometres, they estimated an average car in their possession travels around 10,000 kilometres, meaning the six cars have indeed a saving of 3.096 litres.

The emissions can also be calculated. The CO2 emissions of the Ford Fiesta are 92 grammes per kilometre, which are multiplied by the amount of kilometres and the number of vehicles, thus adding up to 5.52 tonnes per year.

So far, so good. But those six electric cars need charging and that takes electricity, and Cyprus’ electricity is largely powered by oil and oil means high carbon emissions.

When one considers the amount of carbon emissions for 2016, which the authority says is 0.00074 tonnes per kW/h, an engineer and expert in renewable energy sources came up with the figure of 6.669 tonnes per year for the 10,000 kilometres of travel. And that is way more than the emissions saved by the purchase of the new cars in a year.

According to the electricity authority, however, this last calculation is not that easy to make. “Every day our transmissions operator decides on a different combination of energy sources, and the amount of crude oil, renewables and gas oil varies,” spokeswoman of the EAC Christina Papadopoulou said, “how can somebody calculate the amount?”

The company also pointed out that its engineers have calculated the saving of emissions using the example of new cars. Older models emit more than the 92 grammes used for the calculations, thus the savings may well be more than 5.52 tonnes.

According to EAC engineer, Marios Papouttis, the emissions for the electricity generation will get less over time. While only 9 per cent of electricity is currently produced by renewable energy sources, this this percentage will increase considerably in the future.

Even having this in mind, electric cars are certainly not yet those wonderfully clean machines so often claimed in many countries where they tend to be hailed as the answer to all that is bad about cars.

As EAC chairman Andreas Marangos said when announcing the acquisition of the authority’s electric cars, increasing their numbers is an international trend. In Europe, he said, France and the UK have already announced timeframes concerning the exclusive use of electric cars.[…]

Source: Electric cars not as clean as they seem – Cyprus Mail

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