Submission to the Senate Inquiry into electric vehicles

by David Richardson

While electric vehicles are associated with zero emissions it is often said that they are no “cleaner” than the electricity source. It is suggested that electric vehicles using high emissions-intense sources of electricity offer little improvement and may even be worse than internal combustion engine vehicles. This argument is widespread but we argue it is fallacious. This argument compares the average emissions intensity of electricity generation with the marginal increase in demand for electricity associated with a switch to electric vehicles. It is instead argued that the proper perspective should be to compare the switch to electric vehicles with the marginal supply of electricity and it is argued that the additional supply of electricity is associated with zero or near zero emissions in most markets.  

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