Exploring the Environmental Impact: Electric Vehicles vs. Internal Combustion Engines | Centrica Business Solutions
ICE vs EV Lifecycle Emissions with Solar

Exploring the Environmental Impact: Electric Vehicles vs. Internal Combustion Engines

Considering the lifecycle emissions of Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles compared to Electric Vehicles and the impact of on-site renewable energy generation to power charging stations. 

As sustainability takes center stage in the corporate world, fleet owners are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Electric Vehicles (EVs) are a greener alternative to Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, but the true environmental impact goes beyond just the transition to EVs and installing charging infrastructure. In this blog, we will discuss lifecycle emissions and explore how incorporating solar systems in EV infrastructure can lead to significant sustainability progress.

Electric Vehicles vs. Internal Combustion Engines
Transitioning to an all-electric fleet might seem an obvious choice for sustainability-conscious fleet owners. EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions and offer a promising reduction in greenhouse gases during vehicle operation. However, to fully assess the environmental impact, we need to consider the entire lifecycle of both EVs and ICE vehicles.

ICE versus EV Lifecycle Emissions

Source: Polestar and Rivian Pathway Report (2023)

  • Manufacturing
    Electric vehicles have higher manufacturing emissions than ICE vehicles due to the production of batteries and other electric components. However, as battery technology advances and manufacturing processes become more eco-friendly, these emissions should decrease over time.
  • Fuel/Electricity Production
    While emissions due to fuel production remain relatively consistent for ICE vehicles, the source of electricity used to charge Electric Vehicles can significantly impact overall emissions. For example, charging an EV with electricity generated by on-site solar will produce fewer emissions than charging from the grid.
  • Tailpipe Emissions
    When it comes to vehicle operation, EVs come out as clear winners in terms of lower tailpipe emissions. On the other hand, ICE vehicles emit CO2 and other pollutants throughout their lifetime.
  • Maintenance/End-of-Life
    The proper disposal of components like batteries is crucial to minimize the environmental impact, especially for electric vehicles. Developing effective recycling techniques remains an improvement area for both EV and ICE vehicles.


The Role of On-site Solar Generation in EV Infrastructure
While electric vehicles undeniably offer a greener alternative to conventional vehicles during operation, their true environmental impact extends beyond just on-road emissions. Incorporating on-site renewable energy generation, like solar, to power EV charging infrastructure not only lessens grid dependence but also cuts carbon emissions and reduces operational expenditures (OPEX). By viewing carbon emissions holistically, fleet owners can accelerate the adoption of greener transportation solutions and meet sustainability goals.

Driving Progress with Integrated Energy Solutions
Centrica Business Solutions designs and builds efficient energy infrastructure. By combining solar power with EV charging stations, our team helps corporations achieve the most sustainable solution for their fleets, minimizing their carbon footprint and OPEX. Contact us to learn more.