Interesting video above on a study from Volvo about when, from a total production and use point of view, its electric cars become less of an overall emissions burden than their most-equivalent internal combustion cars (Volvo’s own report on it, in pdf form, is here). The gist of it is that EV cars are less of an emissions burden in the long run, but the point at which they become so may be later than you think, and will depend on where you live, how you drive and how you get your electricity in general.
Which… yes? This finding, if accurate, is not a huge surprise for me. I don’t expect EV cars to be magical creatures without carbon and other environmental burdens. That said, some points popped up in the video are relevant to me: ICE cars are close to being as efficient as they can be, from an environmental point of view, while electric vehicles are only at the beginning of their efficiency journey; power grids across the world are getting cleaner and will continue to do so over time; and there are local benefits to EVs (cleaner air, etc) even if the larger-scale benefits are not a great in the immediate time frame.
There’s also a benefit which is not mentioned in this video but which is not trivial for me from a philosophical point of view, which is reducing my contribution to propping up various petrochemical regimes and organizations, both foreign and domestic. Every little bit counts in this regard, if you ask me.
All of which is to say that we’re still in the early days of the electric vehicle conversion, and I have reasonable faith that things will get better from here. And in the meantime, the next car we get, barring an immediate emergency purchase, is still going to be an electric one. I’m looking forward to it.