If you plug your EV into a socket powered by fossil fuels, it’s still contributing to CO2 emissions – but far less than their internal-combustion counterparts.
A new study has sought to find the environmental impact of electric vehicles (EVs) charged from a grid using a majority of fossil fuels.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) says a new GMC Hummer EV produces around 211 grams of upstream CO2 per kilometre, due to grid electricity being produced from coal and other fossil fuels.
It means the new battery-powered Hummer is arguably worse for the environment than the soon-to-be-discontinued 2022 Toyota Kluger V6, which produced 202g/km of combined CO2 from its 3.5-litre petrol six-cylinder.
The calculations for the Hummer EV are based on the United States’ grid, around 60 per cent of the electricity for which is generated from burning fossil fuels.
But while some could argue the new Hummer’s green credentials are a false economy, it’s worth noting the model has a curb weight of 4111kg – more than twice the mass of the Kluger at 1955kg.
The 2008 Hummer H3, which weighed in at 2230kg, produced 314g/km of combined CO2 from its 3.7-litre five-cylinder petrol engine, while the original 3680kg Hummer H1 put out 552g/km.
The Hummer EV’s excessive size and weight means it may contribute greater emissions than smaller petrol-powered cars, but an apples-for-apples comparison shows the battery-powered version is far more efficient than its internal-combustion forebears.
It’s also worth noting many EV owners have solar panels and produce their own electricity for charging their cars, while electricity grids are transitioning away from fossil fuels.
Models like the Hummer EV and the Ford F-150 Lightning have proved popular with US buyers, but ACEEE argues efficiency ratings for EVs should be easier to understand for consumers, much in the same way as fuel economy ratings are mandated.
Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than 15 years. Ben was previously an interstate truck driver and completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021. He is considered an expert in the area of classic car investment.