News & Media

A realistic look at the promise of electric cars

21 November, 2017

An article in Fortune magazine, titled “If You Think Electric Cars Will Save the Planet, Think Again,” looks at the impact electric vehicles will have on climate change: “So you think Climate Change will be beaten one Tesla, one Chevy Volt at a time? Time to think again. Even if the ambitious targets of the world’s biggest economies are met, and internal combustion engines give way to electric or other zero-emission vehicles by 2040, the total impact on global carbon dioxide emissions will be minimal, according to a new study released Tuesday. The International Energy Agency, a Paris-based think tank, said in its annual review of long-term megatrends in global energy that soaring electricity demand around the world will ensure that CO2 levels keep rising unless ambitions are ratcheted much higher. Today, around 2 million of a total 1 billion vehicles on the planet run on electric or hybrid engines. The IEA expects that number to rise to 50 million by 2025, and to 280 million by 2040, as countries everywhere encourage their drivers to make the change to e-mobility. That may sound like a lot, but the problem is that that number of cars on the road will have doubled by then to 2 billion. According to Laura Cozzi, the head of the IEA’s energy demand directorate, EVs will only displace 1% of expected global CO2 emissions in 2040.”