2011 is being hailed as the year of the electric car, or certainly the year that the electric car becomes available to the general public for everyday use. There are a host of new electric cars entering the market in 2011 and 2012 and every major car manufacturer now has plans to introduce an electric vehicle in the next three years. We all know that an electric vehicle has zero tailpipe emissions and the popular counter argument is usually “what about the emissions at the power station”? This Ecometrica paper answers that question by presenting a definitive figure of gCO2/km for UK electric cars when CO2 emissions at the power station are taken into account. Based on a range of electric cars that you can buy in the UK this year and next the average emissions are 75 gCO2/km.

To read the full paper and view the associated calculations, please use the links below to the PDF and Appendix spreadsheet.

Download “Your electric vehicle emits 75 gCO2e/km - at the power station” electric_car_emits_75_gCO2_per_km.pdf – Downloaded 2582 times – 185 B

Download “Appendix I: Electric vehicle calculations (Excel)” Appendix_I-Electric_car_calculations_v2.2.xlsx – Downloaded 1808 times – 185 B


  1. Perhaps this calculation is made looking at the car efficiency itself but taking into consideration the manufacturing costs only for the batteries and replacement to a later stage plus the environmental impact for such battery to discharge. I guess reconditioning is not an option for this kind of batteries and I think that the calculations shown are not taking into consideration the latter.

    1. Hi Wolfgang, thanks for your comment. You are correct in your initial assertion – the calculation is made looking at the car efficiency “at the power station”, and deliberately does not take into account the car’s manufacturing cost. There is a short paragraph in the paper that addresses this.

      You are almost certainly correct with your points about battery manufacture and discharge. In the case of this paper, we decided to focus on associated power station emissions rather than try to come up with an all-encompassing figure for the total environmental cost of an electric car. Let us know if you have any questions – the paper is a little out of date now!

      All the best

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