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EV charging emissions slashed by up to 89% by new technology

With data showing a dramatic variation in the emissions associated with charging an electric vehicle, new technology can help drivers ensure that their EVs are charged using electricity generated with the lowest possible carbon.

The carbon associated with charging an EV is dependent on the carbon intensity of the electricity generated by the National Grid, which in turn is influenced by the proportion of renewable energy used.

National Grid ESO data1 shows that so far in 2024 the average carbon intensity of the grid was 129.9g CO2/kWh, but this figure masks a large variation: the lowest figure was 19g CO2/kWh when the grid was mostly powered by renewable energy, and the highest was 295g CO2/kWh. Therefore the carbon emissions associated with charging an EV can also have a huge variance, depending on when it is plugged in.

According to UK government figures from 20232, an average EV has emissions of 81g CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per mile, based on the total carbon figure for the generation of the energy, including extracting, refining and transporting. Compared to the often-quoted figure of 0g CO2 per mile for EV tailpipe emissions, this sounds high, but the equivalent figure for a petrol car is 263g CO2e per mile.

New technology which optimises the time at which an electric vehicle is charged has resulted in the average EV emissions figure of 81g CO2e per mile being slashed to under 40g CO2e per mile, and even to as low as 9g CO2e per mile – which is an 89% reduction compared to the average figure.

These emissions reductions have been achieved by users of DriveElectric Plus, powered by CrowdCharge technology, which harnesses AI to deliver an industry-leading smart charging solution. DriveElectric Plus charges an EV when the carbon intensity of the grid is lowest, and provides data about the carbon emission savings. When used by fleets, such information can assist companies in their carbon reporting.

DriveElectric Plus is accelerating the significant progress already made by DriveElectric – a supplier of electric vehicles through leasing and salary sacrifice – to support companies to reduce their carbon footprint, achieve their net zero targets, and become more sustainable.

Combined with the company’s experience with electric vehicles stretching back more than 15 years, DriveElectric Plus allows DriveElectric to provide unrivalled support to businesses on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) journey.

Mike Potter, Managing Director of DriveElectric, says “Electric vehicles can help individuals, businesses and the UK as a whole to achieve significantly lower carbon emissions, but only if the EVs are charged with low carbon electricity. The challenge is that most drivers don’t know what the carbon emissions are each time they charge.” 

Americo Lenza, COO of CrowdCharge, adds: “DriveElectric Plus measures the carbon emissions involved in charging, and optimises charging to achieve the lowest possible carbon footprint, so ensuring that electric vehicles have significantly lower real-world carbon emissions than petrol vehicles.”

DriveElectric is an electric vehicle leasing company that has been helping organisations and individuals to adopt EVs to save money, lower emissions and transition to low carbon energy since 2008. DriveElectric offers market-leading expertise and a single point of contact for vehicle choice, funding, charging and driver engagement along with a tailored service for businesses operating EVs.

DriveElectric agreed a strategic investment partnership with Sumitomo Corporation in 2021 in order to scale up its expert service to meet increasing customer demand, as well as to expand the technology offering of the business. Sumitomo Corporation is a leading Fortune 500 global trading company, founded in Japan in 1919.

www.drive-electric.co.uk

Sources

The carbon intensity of electricity measures how much carbon dioxide emissions are produced per kilowatt hour. For more information see: https://www.nationalgrideso.com/data-portal/historic-generation-mix

2 Conversion factors are used to report the CO2 components of fuels, see UK Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors-2023