Tesla Model 3 Emits ~65% Less CO2 Than Mercedes C-Class With Diesel Engine


Published on September 21st, 2020 |
by Johnna Crider

September 21st, 2020 by  

The thought that a Tesla produces more CO2 than a Mercedes C-Class with a diesel engine is laughable, but that was the conclusion of a misleading and misguided study published in 2019 in Germany and covered even on engineering and tech news sites. Not only is this clearly incorrect on the surface; it has been proven false by a recent study explaining that electric vehicles last longer than initially expected and are much greener than fossil-fueled cars.

“A Tesla Model 3 currently emits 65% less CO2 than a Mercedes C-Class,” Auke Hoekstra, co-author of the study, said.

In this study, conducted by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology, the researchers discovered that electric vehicle batteries last much longer than originally thought. Also, unlike what some believe, the production of the battery leads to significantly less CO2 than simplistic studies like the one referenced at the top have assumed — all of the CO2 emissions of an EV are less than half of that of ICE cars.

The researchers pointed out that even if electricity sources are dirty, EVs are cleaner than fossil-fueled vehicles. So, no, a Tesla Model 3 does not produce more pollution than a Mercedes with a diesel engine. In fact, the amount of emissions is expected to become much lower, according to the study. Electric motors require on average four times less energy than a gasoline engine. Also, electricity from the grid is quickly moving forward and getting cleaner and greener.

“But the ultimate goal is electric driving in an energy system with predominantly renewable electricity. This will lead to electric vehicles that emit at least ten times less CO2 than cars that run on petrol, diesel, or natural gas. And a Tesla Model 3 currently emits 65 percent less CO2 than a Mercedes C-Class,” Auke Hoekstra said.

The researchers also compared an electric Volkswagen Golf with a Toyota Prius. The e-Golf emits 78 grams of CO2 per kilometer, which is 54% less than the Toyota Prius, which emits 168 grams. After having driven 28,000 kilometers, the e-Golf has reclaimed the CO2 is released during the production of the battery, according to this study.

Lifespan of Batteries

The lifespan of batteries is growing even longer, and all of us anticipating Tesla Battery Day are hoping for more big announcements in this regard. The article pointed out that it is often assumed that an EV is “written off” after the first 150,000 km. New research has shown that that number should now be 250,000 km. Further, many of the more modern batteries probably lose less than 20% of their capacity in the first 500,000 km. And studies show that 2 million km is possible with the current technology. And Battery Day hasn’t even arrived yet!.

“I suspect that is because I have been dealing with this matter for a long time,” Hoekstra said. To him, the debate around electric vehicles is more intense in Germany than it is in the Netherlands. Perhaps due to the fact that Germany is home to legacy automakers such as Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW, and the like — many of which are struggling to go electric. Some, such as Audi, aren’t ready to let go of diesel just yet.

In July, Audi’s CEO, Markus Duesmann, said that the company plans to massively invest in combustion engines. Audi wants to develop combustion engines because they “will be alive for a very long time. This is why we continue to invest massively in the development of combustion engines.”

Hoekstra also pointed out that battery production has improved a lot as of late. “Battery production has become less CO2 intensive very quickly. Several recent studies have shown this.” One thing that Teslarati noted — and something that I hope for — is that Tesla Battery Day could finally be the beginning of the end of much Tesla and battery FUD that critics spread around like Nutella on toast.

Sure, the doubters will always exist — many of them earn money doubting Tesla, and this is why some of them have frequently attacked Tesla owners and supporters on Twitter. However, the information that Elon Musk and his team will unveil on September 22 will hopefully not just silence the critics once and for all but continue push humanity forward into a new era of sustainability — harder and faster than ever before. 


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About the Author

is a Baton Rouge artist, gem, and mineral collector, member of the International Gem Society, and a Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and Tesla. Elon Musk advised her in 2018 to “Believe in Good.”

Tesla is one of many good things to believe in. You can find Johnna on Twitter