Net Zero Summit

New Study Challenges Environmental Benefits of Electric Cars, Highlights Hybrid Cars as Most Eco-Friendly

IIT Kanpur study reveals higher greenhouse gas emissions and costs associated with electric cars compared to hybrids and conventional vehicles.

A recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has cast doubt on the widely accepted notion that electric cars are more environmentally friendly than hybrid and conventional internal combustion engine cars. The study, carried out in collaboration with a Japanese organization, aimed to analyze the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of electric, hybrid, and conventional cars.

Contrary to popular belief, the findings from the study revealed that the manufacturing, use, and scrapping of electric cars generate 15 to 50 percent more greenhouse gases (GHGs) compared to hybrid and conventional engine cars. The researchers at IIT Kanpur’s Engine Research Lab discovered that Battery Electric Cars (BEVs) emit significantly higher amounts of GHGs across various categories due to their reliance on electricity, with approximately 75 percent of the country’s electricity being derived from coal, a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions.

In addition to the environmental concerns, the study also shed light on the economic aspect of owning electric vehicles (EVs). It was found that the purchase, insurance, and maintenance costs associated with electric cars are 15 to 60 percent higher per kilometer than those of hybrid and conventional cars. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), on the other hand, were identified as the most eco-friendly option in terms of GHG emissions but were also more expensive due to high government taxes. The report emphasized the need for tax parity between hybrid and electric cars if the government intends to promote clean technology effectively.

Interestingly, despite the negative impact on the environment, battery electric cars continue to be promoted through lower taxes and other incentives. The study recommended that while battery-driven cars may not be cost-effective for personal use, they prove to be more efficient for taxi operators. Hybrid vehicles were hailed as the best option in terms of environmental friendliness.

The IIT Kanpur study challenges the prevailing perception of electric cars as the ultimate solution to environmental concerns and highlights the advantages of hybrid vehicles. These findings call for a more comprehensive and nuanced approach to policymaking and the promotion of clean technology in the automotive industry.