For the same models with different power supplies, the carbon footprint of electric versions is already better than the one of the corresponding variants with internal-combustion engine. Moreover, electric vehicles provide a higher potential of CO2 reduction in all lifecycle phases of the product. Concerning CO2 emissions, the energy provenience from fossil fuels or renewable sources is fundamental, too. This is the result of a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) certified by Volkswagen Golf, which compares the CO2 emissions of the different vehicle versions, with electric motor or internal combustion engine.
In short, the current Golf TDI (Diesel) emits on average 140 g of CO2/km along the entire lifecycle whereas e-Golf1 just 119 g of CO2/km. It is clear that, for a vehicle with internal combustion engine, most of emissions come from the use phase, i.e. from the fossil fuel provisioning chain and from combustion: in these cases, the Diesel version reaches 111 g of CO2/km, whereas, in this phase, a corresponding electrically powered vehicle emits only 62 g of CO2/km, deriving from the energy generation and supply. On the contrary, most of emissions for an electric car are generated during the production phase.
According to LCA, the datum referred to the Diesel version is 29 g of CO2/km; whereas the one of a corresponding electrically driven car is 57 g of CO2/km.
The battery production and the complex mining of raw materials weigh significantly, and this number corresponds to almost half of CO2 emissions for the entire lifecycle that, during the use phase, depend on energy production sources – their decrease depends on the availability of renewable energies.