New 'study' claims it takes 48k miles for electric vehicles to emit less CO2 than gasoline cars.

But it's just a misleading brochure.
Reality is closer 16k miles.

UK media including @thetimes where mislead by this carmaker-paid attack on @BorisJohnson's green plans. (thread) Image
About me:

I research electric vehicles at @TUeindhoven and direct NEONresearch.nl.

Comparing CO2 emissions of electric vehicles and combustion cars is my specialty.

My paper describing common errors: sciencedirect.com/science/articl…

A recent report:
avere.org/wp-content/upl… Image
Here is @thetimes @GraemePaton reporting on 'a study commissioned by vehicle and technology companies' where 'researchers recorded results'.
thetimes.co.uk/article/electr…

And there's literally dozens of others who fell for this. ImageImageImage
There were no 'researchers' involved in this 'study' as far as I can see and there are no original 'recorded results'.
dropbox.com/s/4lh5prkwzn49…

It looks like some lobbyists and a PR firm produced a brochure for their list of sponsors: a who's who of anti-EV organisations. Image
The brochure goes all out to bamboozle with marketing speak but there's roughly three types of numerical misdirection:

1) Combustion engine emissions
2) Electric vehicle emissions
3) Biofuel emissions
The report underestimates combustion engine emissions ~50% by substituting reality with laboratory tests and forgetting fuel production.

First the laboratory tests. The table from the brochure looks fine but the graph over time from the source is going up. What's happening? ImageImage
Well, the tests are going up because from 2017 on the laboratory test became more realistic.

Why? Because after #dieselgate the EU finally could not conceal anymore that the brochure that car buyers and politicians use is around 40% rosier than reality.
sciencedirect.com/science/articl… Image
But even the new (WLTP) test is still ~20% lower than reality.

And then you have to account for fuel production which adds ~25-30% to combustion engine emissions.

So it's not 137.7 g/km but ~138*1.2*1.25=~207 g/km.
Now we can compare with electric vehicles.
The 'study' copies a study of ONE car and generalizes this to ALL electric vehicles by boldly claiming it takes 78k km (48k miles) before an electric vehicle emits less CO2.
A claim e.g @thetimes repeated.
polestar.com/dato-assets/11… ImageImage
This ONE study compares a Polestar electric vehicle with a combustion car from parent company Volvo.

But the WLTP emissions from the Volvo XC40 are estimated at 195 g/km when reality is 295 km: 45% more!

I established this using the EPA rating for the Volvo XC40. Image
Producing the battery of the electric vehicle emits 7 tonnes of CO2 (95 kg CO2/kWh battery) which is normal for a battery currently manufactured in China.

But that building the rest of the electric car emits 3 tonnes more is not normal because it's drivetrain is much lighter.
Some sleuthing by a tweep gave us the best possible explanation: although the Polestar and the XC40 use the same chassis they used the emissions of the factory in Belgium for the XC40 and China for the Polestar.

To compare like with like I take an XC40 also build in China.
Finally: this is an LCA so you must calculate all emissions OVER THE LIFETIME of the vehicle. That also means taking the electricity mix over the lifetime.
(The brochure uses the same approach for biofuels.)

Average UK mix over the lifetime is ~100 g/kWh.
assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upl… ImageImage
The result is this corrected graph:

1) Both cars produced in same Chinese factory: line Volvo start bit higher.

2) Realistic fuel use: line Volvo steeper.

3) UK electricity mix (cleaner than EU!) over lifetime: pretty flat line Polestar.

=> Break even from 78k km to 25k km. Image
Finally some words on biofuels. The report touts them as almost emission free but their source (concawe.eu/wp-content/upl…) warns it omits land use change.

What does that mean?

It means we are again ignoring reality to protect business interests. ImageImage
Land use change is basically simple: if I use land to produce biofuel instead of food, someone else on this world will convert a patch of nature into land for food. That negates most of my imagined reduction in carbon emissions and threatens biodiversity.
ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/e…
Bottom line: biofuels from waste are great but limited and should be reserved for e.g. long distance flying and sailing. Biofuels that compete with food or nature often emit more CO2 and are driving deforestation worldwide.
transportenvironment.org/what-we-do/bio…
Oh and then there's the new eFuels that are now touted as a way to keep the combustion engine alive. Sorry.

eFuels require 5-6x more windmills or solar panels to produce than electric vehicles. It's a dead end for road transport. Sorry lobbyists.
transportenvironment.org/press/e-fuels-… Image
So if you think selling combustion engines is more important than finding a job that helps us to combat climate change, that's your choice. But please stop spreading FUD.

And dear journalists: please be less gullible.

For starters I fixed the front page of the brochure. Image
Heads up @StevePeers and @MLiebreich.
And now I'm off to bed. Maybe my wife is still awake.
Brilliant article in @Forbes
by @JamesMorris who reaches a larger and often anti-EV crowd than yours truly. Missing some details (e.g. energy use Volvo and Polestar uses EU mix 2019, not UK mix and not over lifetime) but hats off James!
forbes.com/sites/jamesmor…
And this is a brilliant write-up of @MLiebreich on LinkedIn, detailing how his sleuthing turned boring bad numbers in a brochure disguised as a study into #AstonGate.
linkedin.com/pulse/astongat…
High quality trolling by @PolestarCars 🤣

They are just as pissed at the abuse of their life cycle analysis as I was!

Also got a lovely email (not PR BS) exchanging details so we can learn from each other. They are not the bad guys here!
Seems there is some serious blow-back. Good. Why else would @ClarendonComms remove @astonmartin and @BoschGlobal as their (only) clients from their website?

Btw: this shouldn't get pinned on a few scapegoats. Esp. the newspapers should do better.
Disagree with @theLowCVP on the emissions of biofuels (that they severely underestimate imo) but glad that they distance themselves from the @astonmartin brochure regarding it's negative depiction of EVs.

Who's next?
This @businessinsider report gives an update of #AstonGate with reactions of the main players.

@PolestarCars rightly implies that the carbon footprint of @astonmartin and @McLarenAuto is truly abysmal when compared to an electric equivalent.

businessgreen.com/news/4024132/a…
Here's an interview by @InnoOrigins with me about it.
I hope it's a wake-up call to UK journalists: they should not only reprint information but also check it. That's what gives them added value over social media.

Dutch: innovationorigins.com/nl/electric-au…

Englisch:innovationorigins.com/electric-auke-…
.@etoc_sirch cleaned up my visualisation of why the Polestar 2 electric vehicle doesn't become cleaner after 78000 km but more like 25000 km.

Biggest change is using EPA emissions (closer to real world) instead of WLTP. Image
Youtube video reviewing the report I debunked and doing a very thorough (15 minute) job of pointing out everything that's going on. If only mainstream media outlets had the same level of expertise and accuracy...

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More from @AukeHoekstra

Jan 25
"EVs will ruin the climate" is the message of this new @Guardian clickbait piece, focussing on how electric vehicle batteries need lithium, while mining is bad for the planet.

I think this crusade is unhelpful and the number for lithium mining presented 1000x too high.
🧵
To be clear: the original study doesn't put it so crudely, and I fully agree it's better for both livable cities and the climate if we drive less/smaller/shared cars.

But still: it centers on one question: "How can we reduce our use of lithium?"
climateandcommunity.org/more-mobility-…
The number presented is 300 million tons in the median scenario. Let me make a quick alternate calculation.
Read 12 tweets
Jan 16
This article claims energy reduction is the only way Australia will get all its energy from renewables, but one could also argue solar and wind just need to continue growing like in the 1991-2021 period.
Also: in 2015 wind and solar where below 49 TWh per year and in 2019 they where 100 TWh: they more than doubled.
ourworldindata.org/grapher/energy…

Saying they grew by 62% over this period (because you included hydro that grew a bit less) is misleading.
So all I did was fit curves over the data.
Final energy use is growing a bit less than linear with 22.5 TWh per year (R2 98.5%).
An S-curve over solar and wind (1991-2021) can get close to perfect: R2 value 99.52%.
(Exponential fit is also great 96% but is illogical.)
Read 7 tweets
Dec 31, 2022
LET'S DITCH "FIRM" ENERGY!
Variable energy from wind and solar doesn't need to be married to "firm" supply, but to cheap and efficient and storage.
A 🧵 on why the term "firm" leads policy makers astray and how computer storage (RAM vs hard disks) offers the perfect illustration.
We know wind and solar are intermittent and we need something "we can depend on" to complement it.
And it's easy to see why "firm" energy has become so popular. Esp. with the fossil industry and nuclear.
"Firm" (meaning "not weak or uncertain" says Webster) has a nice ring to it.
But "firm" also means "not easily moved or disturbed" (or in my terms "immovable").

Originally the term "firm" was marketed with nuclear energy in mind, and there we have exactly that problem: nuclear has to be kept at full power in order to keep the price manageable.
Read 15 tweets
Dec 24, 2022
Our German combustion motor professor "Kolben-Koch" is at it again in @BILD (and many German media).

He's claiming that due to Putin and the extra coal we are now burning, electric cars are dirtier than diesel.

Don't fall for his misinformation.
🧵
bild.de/politik/inland…
I'll get into the content after this but with Koch I have to be blunt: he is the leader of IASTEC that has the goal of promoting combustion engines by speaking ill of electric vehicles.

He never rectifies errors and doesn't care about truthfulness.
The 1st problem with this @BILD article is Koch's claim that "a modern diesel emits 153 g/km".

Koch (again) ignores fuel production (+24%) and real driving (e.g. the EPA or spritmonitor.de vs the EU tests).

Real value is well over 217 g/km.
cell.com/joule/fulltext…
Read 10 tweets
Dec 20, 2022
Electric airplanes could be to electric cars what F1 was to combustion cars: a testbed for improvement in an extremely challenging environment.

For that reason I loved this 2 hour presentation into the new @ArcherAviation VTOL aircraft.
Some highlights.
🧵
First off: I'm not a fan of replacing cars with airplanes (except when it reduces the need for new roads, like e.g. in the Amazon).

But I am a fan of replacing combustion motors with electric motors!

Electric planes might actually speed that proces up for both planes and cars!
Here are the (aspiratory?) specs for the plane and they look pretty decent.

I can't find the weight of the battery or the overall plane. Neither can I find the number of kWh energy expenditure per km.
Read 18 tweets
Dec 2, 2022
Sleep is the most underestimated health crisis facing the Western world.

Bad sleep probably has more negative impacts on your health, happiness, and cognition, than bad food or lack of exercise.

I can also recommend the book "Why we Sleep".
Some tips:

Go to bed and get up at fixed times (at least 8 hours apart).

Avoid caffeine 8 hours before you go to sleep. (Caffeine inhibits sleep.)

Blue light and alcohol 4 hours before. (Alcohol leads to less deep sleep and waking early.)

Screen time 2 hours before sleep.
AND I just learned (thanks to @zerobuoyancy and @hanno) that while Walkers basic science is fine, he makes a lot of overhyped claims in "Why We Sleep".

This is a balanced discussion: nourishbalancethrive.com/blog/2020/03/1…

This is the error list:
guzey.com/books/why-we-s…
Read 4 tweets

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