A German study has called into question the eco-friendliness of electric cars, saying they only help the climate on paper and are actually worse for the environment than diesel vehicles.
Christoph Buchal, a Cologne physics professor, compiled the report with colleagues Hans-Dieter Karl and Hans-Werner Sinn for the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, dpa reports.
As soon as CO2 emissions from the production of batteries and the non-renewable methods used to create German electricity are taken into account, an electric car burdens the climate 11 to 28 per cent more than a diesel car, the study found.
A lot of energy is used in the recovery and processing of the lithium, cobalt and manganese used for the cars' batteries.
A battery for a Tesla Model 3 produces 11 to 15 tons of CO2, the study said. With a battery life of 10 years and capacity to travel 15,000 kilometers per year, that alone would mean 73 to 98 grams of CO2 per kilometer, according to the authors.
When the CO2 emissions resulting from grid electricity are also taken into account, in reality, the Tesla emits between 156 and 181 grams of CO2 per kilometer, and thus significantly more than a comparable diesel Mercedes, according to the study.
Carmakers plan to switch the vast majority of their offering to electric cars, but the study's authors say that for the climate, methane-powered engines would be better as their CO2 emissions are one third lower than those of a diesel, dpa adds.