New Analysis On Green Cars Causes Concern

Wed 27th Apr 2022

A new report from the widely respected Euro NCAP organisation has raised concerns as to whether EVs actually work out better for the environment in the long term.

‘Green NCAP’ is the newly formed body launched to help car buyers choose the most sustainable vehicles, like its big brother which helps consumers make the right choice when it comes to car safety.

But after assessing 61 vehicles from across the market on the life cycle C02 footprint there were some surprises for eco performance. It appears that smaller EVs have a good C02 footprint, however, if you are buying a bigger SUV EV, which runs off ‘dirty’ energy it might not be as kind to the environment as a similar combustion engine.

The Green NCAP assessment looked at two key elements to make their ratings, greenhouse gas emissions over a lifetime of 16 years and Primary Energy Demand over a similar time frame.

For C02 analysis is made of how many emissions are produced during manufacture, through a lifetime of use to its end of life through recycling. No surprise that an electric Fiat 500 comes out top in that rating.

But on the issue of Primary Energy Demand (PED), which looks at the amount of energy required, regardless of where the energy comes from, the diesel Skoda Octavia Estate had the lowest PED rate. In explaining the analysis for PED, Green NCAP said:  “PED represents the sum of all primary energy extracted from nature to provide the transportation, including coal, oil, natural gas, hydro energy, wind, waste, solar and nuclear energy. As energy supplies are scarce and valuable, they should be utilised wisely and the efficiency of all processes in a vehicle’s life cycle maximised.”

In an interview with AutoExpress, the Green NCAP Technical Manager Aleksandar Damyanov explained why more factors than just C02 emissions are important. Asked whether it was right that legislation was forcing manufacturers down the path of EV, when there appears to be little comparison against ICE, he said: “I’m not sure I can state that. If the target is reducing CO2, we have options. There is justification for electric if I'm driving only a few kilometers every day, if I don't need a big car, and if I can charge with a good renewable energy mix. If I'm using an electricity mix that is dirty, and the calculations are not better than a conventional vehicle, I would say something different.”