Electric Vehicles — How Green Are They?

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Are electric vehicles more sustainable than gas-powered vehicles? In one word: You bet they are…

Of course, the total sustainability impact of an EV(electric vehicle) depends on the source of the electricity charging it. If it’s fossil-fired electricity, then there is a carbon impact. So if you want to be driving carbon-free, your source for electricity has to be solar or wind.

Still, most of the avoided carbon for an EV comes from fuel efficiency. It’s just dramatically higher for an EV because a gas-powered engine loses so much energy to heat and friction. In fact, putting a full charge on a Tesla Model 3 ($35,000 – 58,000 less $1875 federal tax credit through December 31, 2019, only) with a 75 kilowatt-hour battery provides a range of about 300 miles–and it consumes the energy equivalent of only 2.25 gallons of gasoline. Charging up a Nissan Leaf ($30,000 – 42,000, less $7500 federal tax credit through 2019 at least) provides a range of 226 miles from its 62 kilowatt-hour battery, but equal to consuming just 1.85 gallons of gas.

Tesla Model 3

If you’re still not convinced, consider the EPA-mandated window stickers on new cars, the ones on the back-seat window that say how many miles per gallon the car gets. A Ford F-150 pickup truck gets 25 MPG. The top-selling Toyota Prius hybrid gets 52 MPG. What does the sticker on the Tesla Model 3 say?

116 MPG.

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