3 May 22

Why EVs may not be the greenest solution in every country

The differences in electric vehicle readiness between countries are so extreme that in six major markets the greenest fleet solution is to operate hybrid rather than battery electric vehicles, according to a forensic analysis of cars’ complete carbon footprint.

In South Africa, Australia, India, Indonesia, Poland and Malaysia, the emissions from energy generation are so high that fleets would produce lower greenhouse gas emissions by operating a Toyota Corolla petrol hybrid than a Tesla Model 3, according to global consultancy OviDrive.

It reached this conclusion after studying not simply the Scope 1 emissions of vehicles, but also the Scope 2 emissions that take account of how the power required to recharge batteries is generated.

Yves Helven, CEO of OviDrive (pictured top), said: “A hybrid car is better than an internal combustion engine car in every country, and a hybrid car could also be cleaner than an electric car in some countries.”

He added that in Japan, Mexico, Thailand and Chile, the combination of patchy recharging infrastructure alongside mixed emissions from electricity generation indicate that sustainably-focused fleets would be better off waiting a while before transitioning to electric vehicles.

In fact, even in the major European markets of Germany and Netherlands, fleets have to be sure to source green energy to achieve their sustainability objectives from transitioning to EVs, said Helven, with only France, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Portugal and the UK being countries where EVs represent automatic and immediate environmental wins.

“Think through which countries your should electrify first, and work out how patient you should be for the others,” he said.

Measuring and managing corporate greenhouse gas emissions is hugely complicated for fleets, with a requirement to report the mileage and energy use of every vehicle driven for business as well as commuting, including employees’ private cars.

Proxy measures for calculating these figures are available, multiplying market averages by average mileages, but these fail to give companies credit for the steps they do take to shrink their fleet’s carbon footprint and could prove commercially negative.

“Your customers will not buy from you unless you have good sustainability performance,” said Helven.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning