There’s always been some controversy on whether electric cars are as innocent as they seem on the environment front. Many arguments are made; while most of them are generally pretty illogical, they feed the flames nevertheless.
The latest claim comes from Christian Schultze, one of Mazda’s managers in Europe. According to him, long-range electric vehicles generate more CO2 than any diesel car in their cycles.
Reasonably, Mazda does follow this statement. Japanese manufacturer’s first EV debut was in October 2019 with the new Mazda MX-30. With shorter range, lower production and replacement costs, the new EV has a 35.5kWh battery which is considerably less than competing models. Apparently, the brand has chosen to equip the MX-30 with a battery pack of a “responsible” size to avoid the high emissions of electric vehicles.
According to their claims, EV models that are equipped with 95 kWh (for example, Tesla’s most popular battery pack can store up to 85 kWh) start polluting the environment from day one. As you’d imagine, this makes the situation worse when the owner needs to replace the batteries after the more or less same time interval, as with the Mazda MX-30.
However, numerous research has shown that electric vehicles are less polluting than diesel vehicles in many ways, including CO2. Another study by the International Council on Clean Transportation shows that the environmental costs of battery production are recovered after 2 years. This number goes down to 1.5 years if the shipments are done with renewable energy.
Mazda has based its figures on 2016 European electricity generation averages and together with their assumption of the energy mix not changing significantly in the near future, their claims lack any depth and structure. In-depth studies are needed to make such general statements.