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Teslas may not be any greener than their gasoline counterparts, research from UK-based climate data provider Engaged Tracking has suggested, based on data about the CO2 emissions linked to the production of a Tesla and also the emissions from fossil fuel-powered power plants that provide the electricity for charging the vehicles, The Times reports, citing the research company.
While most EV statistics come up favorable for the EVs, Engaged Tracking used a different approach. Instead of looking at the emission generated over the lifecycle of the vehicle, they looked into the total emissions generated during the construction of a Tesla Model S as compared to the comparable data for a gasoline counterpart.
Teslas are not cleaner to run than the average car in the UK. “The annual emissions of a UK car is 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide, based on an average of 7,800 miles a year,” the research firm’s chief economist told The Sunday Times. “Both the Tesla Model S vehicles we analysed have the same emissions as an ordinary petrol car of 1.5 tons of CO2 per year.”
The expert, Jonathan Harris then went on to compare Tesla Model S to the BMW i3, which produced less emissions, at 1.3 tons of CO2. Tesla rightly objected to this comparison: the BMW i3 is a much smaller vehicle than the Model S.
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On the other hand, Tesla said, if the Model S was compared to an equivalent gasoline car, such as the Mercedes S-Class S500, it would do a lot better, with the Mercedes emission level almost 300 percent higher.
Indeed, Tesla said, “It makes no sense to compare Model S to the average annual emissions figure for cars in the UK, because that average includes a lot of smaller models that are dissimilar to Model S.”
Any emission comparison studies between EVs and gasoline cars can be disputed based on the approach and data used. In this case, it’s interesting why Engaged Tracking chose to go with a famous headline-making luxury EV rather than with the best-selling EV in the world, which is the smaller Nissan Leaf.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.