Changing all cars to available electric vehicles could cut emissions by almost 12% straight away, according to new research by Nottingham Trent University.
Researchers have said that 42 million tonnes of CO2 would be removed from the atmosphere by switching to electric vehicles, reducing the transport sectors emissions by more than 42% . The work says that electrifying all 32 million passenger vehicles in the UK could reduce total national carbon emissions by more than 14%. While this will lead to an increase in emissions from electricity consumption, the researchers believe it will cause a modest 2.1% increase in emissions, and as such would deliver a total cut in carbon emissions of 12%.
The UK will have to deliver annual carbon intensity reductions of 10% to meet its net-zero legislation for 2050, up from less than 4% currently.
“These are encouraging findings and show just how much impact the switch to electric cars could have,” researcher George Milev said. “In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are regularly seeing reports on how the environment has benefitted from the decreased use of combustion engines. If and when the UK moves exclusively to electric car usage, we will similarly see real benefits in the dramatic reduction in levels of CO2.”
But electric vehicle registrations remains low with just 27,000 buying electric cars in 2019.