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How much impact do electric cars have on reducing UK CO2 emissions?

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How much impact do electric cars have on reducing UK CO2 emissions?

When people think of lowering CO2 levels and becoming ‘greener’, most look to electric vehicles as a driver for improvement. Overall, transport accounts for around a quarter of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions and, as such, does have a large effect on the quality of air.

The government is working to reduce transport emissions by promoting public transport choices and encouraging the public switch to lower carbon vehicles. There are now low-emission zones in large cities around the UK and this year the government pledged to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040.

The public seems to be taking note and the number of electric cars registered is growing year on year. To show just how much uptake has increased, the number of new registrations of plug-in cars back in 2013 was just 3,500. However, by the end of November 2017, the number stands at more than 125,000 – equating to just above two per cent of every new car registrations in the UK.

How green are electric cars?

When charged, electric vehicles operate with no CO2 emissions. However, to give a true representation you need to take into account the power that has to be generated to charge them and manufacturing the battery.

Basically, electric cars are only as green as the power that fuels them. In the UK, we have a number of different sources that generate our electricity: fossil fuels, nuclear, renewable and imports. The more that the UK switches to renewable energy, the greener electric cars are becoming because the power that fuels them come from an organic source.

Difference made by switching to electric

It is generally accepted that, at present, electric cars produce half the greenhouse gases of a petrol/diesel powered vehicle over the course of their lifetime. As such, switching to an electric or hybrid vehicle is way to personally contribute to the battle of lowering emissions.

To show the amount one person can save in their lifetime by switching to electric, we need to do some maths. The typical passenger vehicle emits 4.7 metric tonnes of CO2 per year. If a person drives for 50 years in their lifetime, this equates to 235 metric tonnes of CO2.

By switching to an electric vehicle, an individual will save around 117.5 metric tonnes of CO2. As we said before, as the power that fuels our electricity gets cleaner, so do the emissions associated with electric vehicles.

And that’s just you, one of the 65 million people that live in the UK. On an individual basis, whilst an improvement it might not seem like much, by adding it to a collective sum, together it makes for a larger difference. 12,000 people have made the switch to electric vehicles so far in 2017 and collectively that’s a potential for nearly 30,000 metric tonnes every year.

UK electric car hire

Whilst it’s hard to argue that electric vehicles are completely zero-emission, they are a better option for an environmentally conscious person.

If you’ve yet to try an electric or hybrid vehicle and are curious, renting can give you the perfect opportunity to do so. For more information about the range of vehicle available at the Green Motion branch nearest to you or a destination that you’re visiting, browse our online booking platform.

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