If you’ve ever brought up Tesla with friends or in a setting with a group of people, chances are you’ve heard someone say that Tesla’s are dirtier than gas cars over the life of the vehicle because of the production of the electric batteries necessary for the Tesla.
As the argument goes, you have to charge your Tesla with electricity, and in many parts of the world, that electricity is generated by coal or other “dirty” sources. And since the electricity is “dirty”, then so is the Tesla. Add that to the CO2 during production, and your Tesla is worse than a gas car.
However, researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, a leading U.S.-led research centre run by Department of Energy have provided you with the ammunition to counter these arguments the next time you hear it.
Their research found that even a coal powered Tesla is cleaner than a gas car over their lifetimes. Nearly 65% of electricity in the US is generated by burning fossil fuels. They found that a Tesla, powered using US electricity, generated 30.82 metric tons of CO2 over its lifetime, including production.
Compare that to a gasoline car with an average internal combustion engine (ICE) which results in 68.38 metric tons of CO2 over its lifetime. So even when considering “dirty” electricity, the Tesla still is responsible for less than half of the CO2.
This research shows just how important Tesla’s mission of accelerating the transitioning to sustainable energy. Obviously a Tesla is not going to be carbon neutral for a long time, they are still much better than any ICE vehicle, not to mention much more fun to drive.