Comparison Between Battery Powered Electric Vehicles and Internal Combustion-Engine Vehicles Cradle to Grave 3 Summary Our research has shown that from cradle to grave, battery-powered electric vehicles have little – or indeed no CO ² advantage – over internal combustion engine vehicles. We have considered the resourcing of raw materials used for the manufacture, utilisation and final disposal of both internal combustion engine vehicles and electric vehicles, including emissions from the production of both electricity and fossil fuels. If it was to show any theoretical advantage, a battery-powered electric vehicle would have to be manufactured and re-charged using power that is genuinely as close to Net Zero as is currently scientifically achievable – including the CO ² costs of constructing the powergenerating infrastructure. This would restrict the only possible power source to nuclear energy, as wind, solar and hydro are intermittent and need constant back-up from conventional sources to keep the National Grid providing reliable electricity. As yet, the world – and particularly the UK – is unable to deliver that scale of power reliability, and there is no such thing as zero CO ² . Headlines l Manufacturing a ‘pure’ battery-powered vehicle creates more CO ² than an equivalent fossil-fuelled car¹, in some cases up to 74% more (according to Berryls Strategy Advisors²). l Battery-powered electric vehicles demonstrate little or no CO ² advantage over internal combustion engine vehicles unless they are resourced, constructed, utilised and disposed of using the ‘cleanest’ possible power sources. This means nuclear power is the only possible option. l Our research shows that the effective life of a battery-powered electric vehicle to be about half that of an internal combustionpowered vehicle because of battery durability, and this has significant implications for lifecycle emissions³. l Fossil-fuelled vehicles have an excellent record and are easier to recycle – in fact, as much as 95% of the whole vehicle’s materials can be re-used⁴. The ‘conventional’ elements of an electric vehicle can be recycled as much as any other vehicle but the battery is exceptionally difficult to deconstruct⁵. This means the vast majority of ‘spent’ batteries are sent to landfill sites, frequently in developing countries who are least able to decontaminate and dismantle them. l Reports say that battery technology has reached a level of maturity and that we now have diminishing returns: nothing else in the Periodic Table can improve on lithium even though solid state batteries have promised improved power density⁶. Occasionally we see publicity about alternative chemical formulation of batteries in the hope that better sources of battery power will be discovered. But a review has shown that, for example, sodium-based batteries are likely to be three times heavier and bulkier rendering them unusable for transport purposes. l The lifetime difference between the CO ² burden from an internal combustion engine vehicle and a battery-powered electric vehicle is often better for the conventional vehicle for all sorts of reasons. l The CO ² emissions from an extended life internal combustion engine vehicle have much less environmental impact than those from a new battery-powered electric vehicle that is unlikely to defray the CO ² involved in its production processes. l Once an electric-powered vehicle battery is worn out and replaced, the vehicle’s CO ² ‘clock’ re-starts all over again – albeit taking into account the tariff already accounted for the rest of the vehicle. This does not happen with internal combustion engine vehicles and the ‘secondary debt’ of