Will the use of electric cars require the production of more energy?

False! To travel the same distance, an electric vehicle requires 3 times less energy than a conventional combustion engine vehicle. Or in other words, electric cars travel three times farther than a petrol-fuelled car with the same amount of energy used.

Internal analysis by Enel based on data from Terna and Enerdata about the Italian market compared the energy chains of the different vehicles (petrol versus electric).

In an energy analysis "from well to wheel", petrol cars require the following steps:

  • The refinement of crude oil into petrol
  • Shipping
  • Transformation of petrol into mechanical energy by the engine

The overall efficiency of this process is around 18-19%.

The phases related to electric vehicles, however, include:

  • Electricity production
  • Transmission over the grid
  • Transformation by the motor of the electrical energy stored in the batteries into mechanical energy

In this case, the overall efficiency rises to about 52%.

With greater energy efficiency and savings, electric mobility contributes to achieving the emission reduction targets set out in the Paris Agreement (COP21), the twenty-first annual conference between signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, at which national commitments were made in terms of energy efficiency and reducing emissions.

Moreover, according to a study by the Milan Polytechnic titled “Apriamo la strada al trasporto elettrico nazionale” (Let's pave the way for national electric transport), if we consider a scenario of 1,000,000 electric vehicles, the increase in national electricity consumption to charge them would amount to just 0.3%. This figure can be obtained by considering average consumption of 0.15 kWh/km for a fully electric car and 0.25 kWh/km for a plug-in vehicle, with an average annual distance of 10,000 km a year for all electric cars and 5,000 km a year for plug-in cars with 60% charging at public charging stations. Given these assumptions, the additional consumption for 1 million electric vehicles would be equal to 1.3 TWh each year.