That Tesla Battery Emissions Explore Making the Rounds? It’s Bunk.
No, making a Tesla battery does not equal eight years of driving an internal combustion car.
If you’re predisposed to hate electrified cars, then there’s a wonderful story making the rounds that’ll support your worldview. It claims that the production of Tesla battery produces carbon emissions equivalent to driving an internal-combustion vehicle for eight years–8.Two, to be precise.
That’s a sensational claim, one that’s been seized upon by EV haters and gleefully posted by climate change-denying blogs and sites that despise electrical cars. Just one problem: It’s absolute nonsense.
The headline is based on a Swedish explore. It posits that production of a one hundred kWh battery–Tesla’s thickest–produces 17.Five tons of carbon dioxide. We’ll take that at face value so we can dig into it here. The question then becomes how far you’d have to drive an internal-combustion vehicle to emit that much carbon.
The probe’s finding of 8.Two years is “based on a series of assumptions.” To get to that figure, two of those assumptions must have been that the internal-combustion vehicle in question gets superb mileage and isn’t driven very much. Oh, and while battery production incurs a carbon footprint in these statistics, the gasoline in the examine magically emerges in your tank and the only carbon emitted is from searing it (that is, the calculations disregard the carbon emissions created by producing and moving large quantities of gasoline). Those are nifty assumptions.
Let’s say the gas-powered car is actually something similar to a Tesla Model S P100D, which would use the battery in question. Let’s say we’re talking about the Audi A8 Four.0, another quick AWD sedan. According to the EPA, that car emits 6.Two metric tons of CO2 per year, given 15,000 miles of annual driving. And since A8s don’t automatically percolate their own 93-octane, the EPA also calculates an extra 1.1 tons of upstream carbon to get those ancient dinosaur innards coursing through your fuel pump. Math aficionados will note that 17.Five (battery production) divided by 7.Trio (total annual A8 emissions) equals Two.Four. As in, apples to apples, the battery’s carbon footprint is zeroed out in less than three years.
There’s also the fact that you can power your Tesla with rooftop solar, and repurpose former car batteries for home power storage, as BMW’s already doing. Basically, this eight years thing is bupkis–one more example of nonsense people love to share on Facebook.
Look, there are slew of valid reasons to choose internal combustion engines–quick refueling, good infrastructure, the sound of a Shelby GT350R at redline. But environmental superiority isn’t one of them.