What?  Are ethanol fuel cars more ecological than electric cars?

What? Are ethanol fuel cars more ecological than electric cars?


Many studies say that an electric car powered by energy produced in a country like France emits less CO2 into the atmosphere during its full life than a conventional internal combustion engine car. But does some “green” fuel allow the good old piston engine to turn the tide? This is what IFPEN (French Petroleum Institute, now called “French Petroleum Institute for New Energy”) claims in reading which compared all major types of car engines in relation to CO2 emissions. For this, IFPEN explains that it took into account all aspects of the generation of CO2 that enter the balance of the car: that of the construction of the car (including its batteries in the case of an electric car), but also that of the production of the energy used to move it forward. Whether we are talking about conventional fuel (95 unleaded petrol), superethanol E85 or, in the case of plug-in hybrid vehicles or not, electricity, IFPEN has therefore estimated the average amount of CO2 produced by the vehicle over its lifetime of service. 150,000 km, then with the use of 250,000 km.

With a lifetime of 150,000 km, a car fueled with E85 will emit less CO2 than an electric car according to the study.

What to show again the best carbon footprint of electric cars? Get lost. Even if the study focuses on “green” electricity used within the European Union (in any case it is less polluting than that of China or the US), it is superethanol cars that seem to be the best. . In a car’s life cycle of 150,000 km, E85 fueled cars will definitely have a better carbon footprint than electric cars, as you can see in the table below. And if we combine E85 with a hybrid car, the result is better: the level of CO2 emissions will drop below 80 g/km. IFPEN agrees that the carbon footprint is beneficial for an electric vehicle if the mileage of the vehicle is increased to 250,000 kilometers over its total life. But the authors of the study take care to mention that this balance has been changed if the electric vehicle in question has changed its batteries after 150,000 km. However, such operation seems to be rare at present in electric vehicles.

Over 250,000 km, an electric car makes a profit in terms of CO2 emissions.  The ones provided are obviously not replacement batteries
Over 250,000 km, an electric car makes a profit in terms of CO2 emissions. The ones provided are obviously not replacement batteries

Biased research?

There is usually an important aspect to consider in this study: its nature. It was not only done by an organization whose goal is to defend the interests of the professional petroleum industry, but it was done specifically to promote the activities of producers of agricultural alcohol used in the composition of E85 fuel. At risk of relying entirely on research and data favoring superethanol, especially by underestimating the CO2 emissions associated with the production of this fuel? It is obviously impossible. In the European context where the internal combustion engine must be phased out in 2035, the superethanol industry would like to recover in the same way as the popular synthetic fuel.