IIT Kanpur study questions electric car's environmental friendliness. Electric cars emit 15-50% more greenhouse gases than hybrids and conventional cars throughout their lifecycle. Per-kilometer costs for EVs are 15-60% higher. Hybrid cars are the most eco-friendly option. Government taxes on hybrids should be equal to battery-powered vehicles to promote clean technology. Battery electric cars receive benefits despite their negative environmental impact. Hybrid cars offer better mileage. Conventional cars are cost-effective for personal use, while battery cars are efficient for taxis. Hybrid vehicles are most favorable for the environment.
A recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has raised doubts about the environmental friendliness of electric cars when compared to hybrid and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.
The report from IIT Kanpur’s Engine Research Lab reveals that the entire lifecycle of electric cars, including manufacturing, usage, and scrapping, contributes to 15 to 50 percent more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to their hybrid and conventional counterparts.
In a detailed analysis of per-kilometer costs, the study also indicates that the purchase, insurance, and maintenance expenses associated with electric vehicles (EVs) are 15-60 percent higher than those of other vehicle types. Surprisingly, the research highlights that hybrid electric cars are the most environmentally friendly option among the three categories studied.
IIT Kanpur Study Finds Conventional And Hybrid Cars Outperform Electric Cars In Environmental Impact
To conduct the study, IIT Kanpur collaborated with a Japanese organization, categorizing the cars into three groups—two foreign categories and one Indian category—to calculate the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of each vehicle.
The study, led by Prof. Avinash Agarwal of IIT Kanpur, found that Battery Electric Cars (BEVs) emit 15-50 percent more greenhouse gases across various categories when compared to other vehicle types.
This is primarily due to the need to charge BEV batteries with electricity, and with 75 percent of the country’s electricity being generated from coal, which emits carbon dioxide, the environmental impact is significant. Moreover, the cost of purchasing, using, and maintaining battery-powered cars is 15-60 percent higher per kilometer compared to hybrid and conventional vehicles.
Among the three categories, Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) demonstrate the lowest GHG emissions. However, they tend to be more expensive than their counterparts due to higher government taxes imposed on hybrid cars.
The IIT report emphasizes that if the government aims to promote clean technology, hybrid cars should be taxed equally with battery-powered vehicles. Interestingly, the study also suggests that despite their negative environmental impact, battery electric cars are being incentivized through lower taxes and other benefits for buyers.
On the other hand, hybrid cars offer superior mileage per liter, ranging from one-and-a-half to twice that of conventional engine cars.
According to Prof. Aggarwal, while conventional engine cars are more cost-effective for personal use, battery-driven cars are more efficient for taxi operators. Hybrid vehicles, however, emerge as the most favorable option in terms of environmental impact.