Electric vehicle use in Minnesota can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (well-to-wheel carbon intensity) by 61-95%, according to a new analysis from the Great Plains Institute

Cross-posted from Clean Technica – see link for the full article

Electric vehicle use in the state of Minnesota reduces greenhouse gas emissions (well-to-wheel carbon intensity) by 61-95%, according to a new analysis from the Great Plains Institute.

The 61% figure quoted above is with reference to Xcel Energy’s electric mix (in 2015). If the electric vehicle (EV) owner uses 100% renewable energy to recharge their vehicle (through Xcel’s Windsource program, a similar program, or their own PV power system), then this figure can be raised to 95% most of the time.

The findings are the result of the Great Plains Institute (GPI) using Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET Lifecycle Model to determine well-to-wheels carbon intensity in Minnesota under a number of different vehicle driving scenarios.

The GREET model collects and organizes the results of peer-reviewed science on GHG emissions and is considered to be one of the top “authorities on the measurement of GHGs.”

As indicated by the “lifecycle” term, the GREET model “includes exhaustive data on every aspect of energy production and use.” This includes data on fuel extraction, refinement, battery and vehicle manufacturing, fuel shipment and distribution, and automotive engine combustion.

Data on the specific energy situation in Minnesota was used by GPI as inputs to better determine the local picture for greenhouse gas intensity of internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric vehicle use in the state.

Here are some of the main findings:  “Gasoline vehicles in Minnesota emit an average of 465 grams of GHGs per mile (g/mile) when accounting for the full fuel lifecycle, which includes energy used for fuel extraction and refining. In comparison, full lifecycle accounting of an electric vehicle (EV) in Minnesota results in only 183 g/mile of GHGs on Xcel Energy’s 2015 fuel mix. It is interesting to note that because EVs have no tailpipe emissions, all emissions take place upstream, aka at the power plant and during vehicle manufacturing. And although it currently takes more energy to manufacture an electric vehicle and its battery than to build a gasoline automobile, as you can see in the above graph, the emissions from combusting gasoline vastly outweigh those from vehicle manufacturing.