New research has shown that the carbon footprint of electric vehicle (EV) battery production is rapidly becoming smaller.
Data collated by researchers at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute indicates that emissions produced in the manufacture of EV batteries are two to three times lower than those reported in 2017, falling from 150-200kg of carbon dioxide to a more manageable 61-106kg. The researchers identified three key factors affecting the shrinking environmental impact of electric vehicle battery production:
- Growing demand for electric vehicles has led to increased commercialisation and upscaling of production of EV batteries, leading to economies of scale in terms of the greenhouse gas emissions released in the manufacturing process;
- The available data on the sustainability of EV battery manufacturing is now more up to date and more comprehensive than that which had previously informed claims regarding the climate impact of electric vehicles; and
- The implementation of renewable energy sources is increasingly prevalent in the energy grids of key manufacturing regions, leading to a fall in emissions from the manufacturing sector as a whole.
Lucien Mathieu, e-mobility analyst with sustainable transport campaigning body Transport & Environment, said: “EV batteries are getting cleaner and cleaner by the month. This is because production is becoming more efficient with the scale and because the energy mix to manufacture is decarbonising; so it does matter where the factory gets produced. This supports the current [European] Commission push to establish a battery cell industry in our continent via the EU Battery Alliance. The new study also acknowledges that accurate data is a challenge, so the upcoming EU battery regulations should establish a robust database and require companies to report accurate carbon footprint data. Data on metals supply chains is a particular problem. Thus the need for traceability and binding due diligence so that sustainable and responsible production is ensured.”