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EV lover, she’ll take your heart because it’s greener: A lifecycle comparison between electric and combustion-engine cars

Road transport is one of the largest contributors to global warming. Its decarbonisation will therefore have a significant impact in the fight against climate change..

Indeed, regulators around the world have been enforcing ever-stricter auto emission standards since the early 1990s. Vehicle manufacturers have responded with more efficient combustion engines, better catalytic convertors, and innovations such as stop-start technology. However, we are now at the point where targets are too strict to be met with more efficient combustion engines alone.

With regulatory pressure mounting, the industry has turned to electric vehicles, both hybrid and fully electric, to get their average emissions down. But how much lower (if at all) is the lifetime CO2 footprint for a battery electric vehicle (BEV) compared to an equivalent internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle?

As our European Equities team reveal, decarbonising the auto sector is complex. The argument cannot be reduced to ‘electric: good – petrol and diesel: bad’; a more thorough interrogation of the production and operating processes underpinning electric vehicles is needed.

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