Tavares also said that an electric car has to drive 70,000 kilometers (43,496 miles) to compensate for the higher carbon emissions in its production and with Europe’s current energy mix. This seems to be based on a study called “Decarbonising Road Transport: There Is No Silver Bullet.” Elaborated by Clarendon Communications, it was more than debunked: it was entirely demoralized.
First of all, Auke Hoekstra showed on November 27, 2020, that an electric car would have to run 16,000 miles (25,750 km) to offset the higher carbon emissions the large battery pack imposes on its manufacturing process. The Dutch EV researcher presented the numbers and why they were wrong in a Twitter thread that is worth checking – it is embedded below.
Later, Michael Liebreich, founder of BNEF (Bloomberg New Energy Finance), revealed that Clarendon Communications had Rebecca Caroline Stephens as one of its directors. The part-time NHS nurse is the wife of Aston Martin’s government affairs director, James Stephens. Aston Martin was one of the sponsors for the study. Some of the others were Bosch, Honda, and McLaren. The scandal was known as “Astongate” or “Boschgate,” which shows Tavares is not in the best company by quoting those numbers.
Another point that Tavares misses is that many companies are not simply trying to comply with emission regulations: they want to catch up with Tesla and Chinese companies that are doing fine with EVs, such as Xpeng and NIO. China and Norway already have very relevant EV markets, and that trend should keep expanding worldwide.
It is comprehensible that the Stellantis CEO is concerned with multiple questions. How will the industry sell electric cars at a profit, especially affordable ones? Where will it get raw materials for all the batteries it needs? Is the current battery technology the right one? What about fuel cells? Legacy companies also have massive investments in combustion engines.
Despite that, the cheaper ways to reach lower carbon emissions were something carmakers also avoided as much as possible. They once argued that hybrids were expensive solutions that only fancier cars could have. They still do: otherwise, light hybrid vehicles would be a lot more common. Colin Mckerracher, from BNEF, even asked Tavares publicly on Twitter which other options would be available other than pushing back tighter emission standards. Will the Stellantis CEO ever answer that?
New 'study' claims it takes 48k miles for electric vehicles to emit less CO2 than gasoline cars.— AukeHoekstra (@AukeHoekstra) November 27, 2020
But it's just a misleading brochure.
Reality is closer 16k miles.
UK media including @thetimes where mislead by this carmaker-paid attack on @BorisJohnson's green plans. (thread) pic.twitter.com/ozuhbX8NXU
Don't leave us hanging Carlos, what were they?— Colin Mckerracher (@colinmckerrache) January 19, 2022
More importantly, why did many automakers push back against tighter emission standards if there are all these fast, cheap ways to reduce them? https://t.co/E7sra2y9kt