Electric cars and gas emissions


Sir, – Further to the letter (Brendan Murphy, June 27th) regarding electric vehicles, a number of points are worthy of clarification.

Electric vehicles are three times as efficient as conventional internal combustion engines. In conventional engines, most of the energy is lost as heat and less than a quarter of the fuel is used to actually propel the car. This means that even with the carbon content of electricity today, replacing a diesel powered car with an electric vehicle reduces CO2 emissions by 46 per cent.

The carbon content of every unit of electricity has halved since 1990 and is continuing on a clear downward trajectory. Twenty-six per cent of the electricity generated in Ireland today comes from renewable sources and by 2020 that will increase to about 40 per cent. Over time, the carbon emissions advantages of driving an electric vehicle will further improve.

When combined with dramatically improved air quality – especially in cities – and much lower running costs, a worldwide switch to electric vehicles for private cars is increasingly seen as inevitable.

Enabling this global mega-trend now will further contribute to cutting carbon emissions from transport, a sector that generates 19 per cent of all carbon emissions in Ireland. – Yours, etc,


Executive Director

Innovation, ESB, Dublin 3.