Are electric vehicles truly more environmentally-friendly than petrol or diesel-powered cars?

When considering the entire lifecycle emissions of making, owning and recycling a car, EVs produce fewer emissions than petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles.

There are emissions associated with the making of any vehicle. Emissions from building EVs is generally higher than petrol and diesel vehicles, when including the battery. Despite not having a combustion engine and all the other related components, batteries are energy-intensive to produce. These processes continue to improve and these additional emissions are more than offset over the life of the vehicle.

Unlike petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles, EVs have zero exhaust emissions, and even when charged using the current electricity grid in Australia, produce fewer lifecycle emissions. The emissions from EVs sold today will continue to improve over their lifetime as more renewables are introduced to the electricity grid.

It’s also important to recognise that EV batteries can be used after their useful life in a vehicle (expected to be around 15 years). EV batteries can find a second life powering homes, buildings or even the grid, and are expected to last around another 10 years in these applications. After around 25 years in total, these batteries can then be recycled to create brand-new batteries, moving us closer to a circular economy.

Check out our Life Cycle Emissions Calculator Tool to compare emissions from different vehicles.