E&E News Energywire
July 8th, 2020
The grid may still be too coal-heavy in some parts of the United States for electric vehicles to be a better option for local air quality than gas cars, according to an analysis published yesterday by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Stanford University.
In regions like the Midwest and Southeast, battery electric passenger cars caused well over three times more local air pollution than gas cars due to the coal used to create electricity, the study’s authors found. Battery buses in those areas, meanwhile, produced over six times as much pollution as conventional buses.
Those results were based on the state of the grid as of 2014, cautioned the authors.
“We did not account for the progress of the decarbonization of the electric grid in this work,” co-author Fan Tong, a project scientist in Lawrence Berkeley’s energy analysis and environmental impacts division, wrote in an email. The team is planning to do a follow-up investigation with more recent data, he added.