Electric vehicles are being hailed as eco-friendly alternatives to the petrol and diesel vehicles most of us drive.
One thing many seem to forget is that South Africa’s electricity is predominately generated by coal-fired power stations.
Coal power is environmentally unfriendly, spewing large volumes of pollutants and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
So when you plug in your electric car to recharge, it is not a cleaner, “zero-carbon emissions” alternative to petrol and diesel cars.
Therefore, your daily commute will actually be more environmentally friendly if you choose to drive a diesel vehicle as opposed to a plug-in electric car, assuming that:
Petrol and diesel vehicle manufacturers report carbon emissions of their vehicles accurately.
South Africa’s power generation mix will grow as envisioned in the 2013 IRP.
Electric vehicle owners are restricted to recharging their vehicles by plugging them into the South African grid network.
For more details, see this graph .