Tesla Model 3 itself does not produce harmful emissions, but in terms of total harm to the environment it will be equal to that of a gasoline sedan to a range of 21,725 kilometers (13,500 miles). This is the result of a Reuters analysis based on a mathematical model from the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago. The calculation covered thousands of parameters: from the type of metals in batteries of electric vehicles to the amount of aluminum and plastic in a car.
According to Jarod Corey Kelly, chief analyst at Argonne, the production of electric vehicles generates more CO2 than the production of vehicles with combustion engines. The main reason is energy-intensive mining and processing of traction battery cells.
The “carbon gap” and the time after which it will be leveled depends on many factors, including the mass and efficiency of the electric vehicle, the method of generating the energy used to recharge the battery, the fuel consumption of a car with an internal combustion engine, and so on. .
Reuters illustrates the analysis with an example. Tesla Model 3 operates in the United States, where 23% of electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants. It is contrasted with the Toyota Corolla with an average consumption of 7.1 l / 100 km. These cars will equal 21,725 kilometers in carbon footprint.
However, if you drive the same models in Norway, which generates almost all electricity from renewable sources, then the lag in efficiency is leveled much earlier – after 13.5 thousand kilometers.
If the energy system is almost entirely based on coal (for example, as in China or Poland), then you have to travel as much as 126 thousand kilometers to reach carbon parity with the Toyota Corolla.
In general, the conclusion of Argonne National Laboratory and Reuters is that the impact of an electric vehicle on the environment depends more on the country’s energy infrastructure than on the efficiency and technical features of the vehicle itself.