One Tesla Vehicle Avoids 55 Tons of CO2e over Lifetime

Air pollution from burning fossil fuels causes great harm not only to our planet but also to people who breathe polluted air. Tesla vehicles are environmentally friendly and should replace ICE vehicles. Each Tesla vehicle avoids 55 tons of CO2e over its lifetime.

Air pollution from burning fossil fuels leads to premature deaths

Tesla recently released its 2022 Impact Report, which provided a lot of interesting and important data about its operations. The company wrote that pollution from burning fossil fuels leads to eight million premature deaths globally each year. That accounts for one-in-five premature deaths worldwide. Zero-emission products, such as Tesla cars, have a big advantage that is often forgotten. They are not just about the future of our planet, but also about addressing preventable deaths today.

According to recently published research in Environmental Research by Harvard University, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, and University College London, air pollution causes over eight million premature deaths annually.

Tesla produced and delivered over 1.3 million EVs globally in 2022

Although Tesla is focused on its own deliveries, electric vehicle (EV) sales by all carmakers need to increase. The company hopes that every vehicle manufacturer will strive to produce hundreds of thousands of EVs per year, as significant reductions in emissions will only be achieved with an industry-wide shift.

Emissions credit revenue is used for EV capacity expansion, which in turn displaces internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. In 2022, Tesla generated almost $1.8 billion in revenue selling zero-emission regulatory credits to other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

While it is common practice today for ICE vehicle OEMs to purchase regulatory credits from other companies (such as Tesla) to offset their emissions, it is not a sustainable strategy. In order to meet increasingly strict regulatory requirements across the world, OEMs will be forced to develop truly competitive EVs.

A single Tesla vehicle avoids 55 tons of CO2e over its life

After approximately two years of driving, an EV’s lifetime emissions are lower than an ICE vehicle’s. While EVs today still emit more greenhouse gases (GHGs) during the manufacturing phase, including emissions from the supply chain, it takes less than two years’ worth of driving before the total emissions from an EV fall below that of a comparable ICE vehicle.

After 17 years of driving—the average life of a vehicle in the U.S.—a single Tesla vehicle will avoid almost 55 tons of CO2e. This number is conservative for two reasons: it assumes no improvement in grid emissions over time and that an ICE vehicle maintains its fuel efficiency throughout its life, which is not the case in real life.

Current frameworks were not built for a company like Tesla

The popular frameworks for measuring and reducing GHG emissions were written by and developed for well-established companies with polluting products. These frameworks do not account for the impact of emissions that are avoided through the sale of zero-emission or clean-tech products. By the end of the decade, Tesla will need to build many more factories with the goal of ultimately producing 20 million vehicles and over 1,000 GWhs of energy storage per year. Each one of these products will avoid many tons of CO2e throughout its life.

Tesla plays a critical role in achieving global commitments for electrification in the energy and transportation sectors through the sale of its products. Even as Tesla constructs the most efficient factories with maximum renewable energy utilization, there will undoubtedly be incremental emissions from its growing factory footprints in the near term as the company works to decarbonize all industrial processes and supply chain inputs.

Tesla supports making as much progress as possible toward a zero-emission future—and indeed, it is the core mission of the company. There is a lot of work left to do to build a GHG accounting system that holds polluters accountable, highlights the work being done by companies building zero-emission products, and achieves the goal of decarbonizing the economy.

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