Electric car vs diesel and petrol, emissions?


Mobility: technologies and emissions are the topics at the center of the interesting conference held at the Politecnico di Milano. In the Aula Magna of the authoritative engineering faculty, the most important in Italy and appreciated both in Europe and in the world, the complex world ofelectric car, comparing it with the other types of propulsion, existing or future such as the diesel, petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid.

Has the end of the internal combustion engine arrived?

Many people ask technicians, planners, operators in the sector but above all end users questions that are not easy to answer: did we get to the end of the combustion engines? Is it correct to focus only on electrification? What is the impact on the infrastructure of the electric charging system? What are the costs and benefits for the community, environmental issues, industrial and employment implications? Is there room for other solutions, such as hydrogen, fuel cells, biofuels and other eco-compatible fuels?
All this has been talked about in this long awaited conference of the Politecnico di Milano with industry experts, Mazda and Toyota.

Mazda and Toyota present at the Politecnico di Milano

At the conference there were also teachers automotive experts is car manufacturer representatives with Mazda, very attentive to the topic and promoter of important innovations in the field of endothermic engine, e Toyota who chose the hybrid road, but without disdaining other solutions.

From the analysis of the Politecnico's speakers, it immediately became clear how there is no single and universal solution to the problem related to pollution from mobility.

Speakers Conference "Mobility: technologies and emissions" of the Politecnico di Milano
Speakers present at the conference "Mobility: technologies and emissions" of the Politecnico di Milano

How many emit cars in the entire life cycle?

How much does an electric car pollute? Each vehicle it must not be judged based solely on the emissions it produces during its use but it goes considered in the entire cycle of his life; starting from the emissions that are generated with the extraction and production of the raw materials necessary for its construction, calculating its consumption and pollution during driving, and ending with its disposal cost at the end of the life cycle.
In short, it is a little more complex than the simple CO2 data declared for a single vehicle.

pollution emissions
Engines account for 29.3% of global pollution

And so it turns out that theelectric car has a pollution value very close to the latest generation of modern diesel considering all cycles including battery production, recharging and disposal.

Greenhouse gas emissions in the world
Greenhouse gas emissions in the world and Europe

The diesel engine is the least polluting

The latest generation diesel engine, as he claims Francesco Monteamaro VP sales of Bosch Italy and as evidenced by the tests, has margins of improvement such as to bring emissions to zero almost exhaust, making it still highly competitive today thanks to the new feeding, injection and catalyst systems. The disparaging campaign against modern diesel, which is not even distantly related to the old and polluting diesel engines, therefore makes no sense.

Just remember that a Euro1 of 1993 had a PM equal to 180 it's a Euro 6 of 2015 has a PM equal to 5. Modern internal combustion engines will become even more interesting and environmentally friendly if the studies are carried out alternative fuels, on the Bio-fuel It is on Synthetic-fuel, on recyclable liquid fuels such as i biofuels obtained from the development of microalgae.

real emissions of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines
Graph that compares the real emissions of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines

Because the electric car will not replace diesel and petrol cars

in conclusion electric cars will not replace diesel and petrol cars. The axiom according to which the future will be only electric is denied not only by these analyzes, but by other contingent factors that severely limit the electric mobility. Let's see why.

First of all the problem of battery charging speed: to recharge 50 kWh need 17 hours home network, 4 hours and a half with balusters from 11 kW and 30 minutes with the 100 kW Fast Charger.

The example of the motorway distributor is obvious. To have a service equal to 10 traditional fuel pumps would require 60 electric charging stations, with however long waiting times. The electricity consumption of these 60 charging stations would satisfy the needs of 1000 families, of a large hospital or an industry with an average of 1000 employees….

fast charging electric cars
To have a service equal to 10 traditional fuel pumps it would take 60 fast electrical charging stations

The electric car requires a lot of electricity …
Where do we get it?

And another problem also arises, where to find all this electricity to satisfy a circulating park made exclusively of electric cars, without overloading the national needs of the other sectors? The electric car, with its problems of refueling and autonomy, especially considering his life cycle overall it is not really “zero” pollution even though it is certainly one of the future solutions that must be managed intelligently.

Plug-in hybrid valid alternative to the electric 100%

The full electric car will have to coexist for the next decades even with the engine a internal combustion and with thehybrid. At least until other propulsion systems like thehydrogen which appears interesting because it does not require bulky and heavy batteries as the electric and because it guarantees high mileage between two supplies.

Hydrogen car alternative to electric car?

Theredrogeno it is certainly a valid alternative to the electric car and will be the most suitable system for the long distances, especially for commercial and heavy vehicles.

hydrogen supply
Hydrogen engines will be more suitable for long distances

What will the future of mobility be?

The objective of "Decarbonization" transport by 2050 can therefore be achieved only by integrating and using all production systems: forecasts say that the electric will be for small displacements and urban needs while the evolution of the traditional engine (using biofuels that do not produce pollutants and are in an advanced stage of study) e the hybrid in all its conformations they will be the favorites for the extra-urban viability.

Electric car, the more autonomy increases the more costs increase

The electric car, this is its limitation, becomes in fact less convenient when more than 200-300 km are required, because they increase the costs of production and therefore of purchase, above all because the production of electric batteries is ad high CO2 density, just that CO2 that we try to fight with so much effort.

Electric car cost / autonomy chart
Graph of autonomy / costs on an electric car

Energy transition with new more efficient internal combustion engines: Mazda one of the few car houses with a revolutionary engine, the Skyactiv-X

We can say that MAZDA is one of the very rare car houses that have produced an important technical innovation, a 15/20% more efficient petrol engine that approaches the performance of the diesel engine. Let's talk about the Skyactiv-X. Mazda is the innovative engine Skyactiv-X, an engine gasoline hybrid which exploits some diesel principles, to optimize combustion so as to reduce consumption and pollution.

The Japanese company participated with an exceptional speaker, Eng. Mitsuo Hitomi Senior Innovation Fellow of Mazda Motor Corporation, and with Ing. Roberto Pietrantonio, Chief Executive Officer of Mazda Italia. Both expressed their conviction that the approach to environmental issues should be global and coordinated, involving politicians, technicians and companies, because everyone's only real goal is to protect the environment and the world in which we live.

Those of Mazda are not just words, because the firm's belief is that more solutions need to be studied simultaneously, further developing the traditional internal combustion engine and analyzing alternative solutions.

Mazda Skyactiv-X petrol engine exhibited at the Milan Polytechnic conference
Mazda Skyactiv-X petrol engine exhibited at the Milan Polytechnic conference

Car emissions from the tank to the wheel …

To properly measure CO2 emissions in the life cycle of a vehicle, Mazda exceeds current estimates "Tank-to-wheel" (from the tank to the wheel, which only consider emissions during use).

Emissions from production to final use

In the Mazda emission analyzes it takes into account Mazda's method "Well-to-wheel", "From production to use", which also includes the extraction, production and transport of the fuel, including the life cycle assessment of the batteries which takes into account the CO2 emissions of the batteries throughout the entire life cycle, from production and use to their disposal.

Mazda3 Skyactiv-X rear light
The Mazda method is "Well-to-wheel", "From production to use"

Global warming? A complex problem

"The issue of global warming and the quality of the air we breathe is very complex – he has declared Roberto Pietrantonio, CEO of Mazda Italy – It is therefore a real pleasure for Mazda to participate in this conference, because we believe it is absolutely necessary to have an in-depth discussion that will allow all the players involved, from the government and the regions to converge to the automotive industry, to face it. Mazda's position on the environment is based on a coherent structured and rational approach, and our hope is that everyone will adopt a holistic strategy, particularly in this transition phase, to foster true sustainable mobility and respect for the planet. "

Roberto Pietrantonio Managing Director of Mazda Italia intervention at the conference of the Politecnico di Milano
Eng. Roberto Pietrantonio, CEO of Mazda Italia
during his speech at the conference of the Politecnico di Milano

"Mazda believes that the entire power generation and battery industry and the automotive industry should help reduce CO2 emissions. – he has declared Mitsuo Hitomi, Senior Innovation Fellow of Mazda Motor Corporation – in every field and hopes that the whole world will adopt an approach to global optimization of the resources and technologies available, with the only real goal of protecting the environment and the world in which we live ".

Mitsuo Hitomi, Mazda Senior Innovation Fellow at the Politecnico di Milano conference
Mitsuo Hitomi, Mazda Senior Innovation Fellow at the Politecnico di Milano conference

Politecnico di Milano, the meeting's budget to understand the real emissions produced by a car from production to final use

That of the Polytechnic of Milan was a particularly interesting meeting because of the highest competent authorities in the field, the professors of the university of the Energy Department, have exposed the results of their studies on the pollution produced by the various types of propulsion: from the traditional one of the combustion engine internal (diesel is petrol) to the ibrido, from the electric to thehydrogen.

At the "Dieselgate", after the great media coverage, the new procedures for the homologation of vehicles followed, accompanied by the RDE tests (Real driving emissions), with results closer to real driving conditions on the road. Hand in hand i diesel engines they have been made even cleaner with more stringent and unified emission limits with those of petrol cars. An ongoing revolution in car emissions with the offer of electric cars and vehicles "electrified" by the mild hybrid, full hybrid, plug in and full electric.

The Department of Energy of the Politecnico di Milano proposed a day of confrontation between experts in the sector to provide scientifically correct and technologically based information, respecting the complexity of the problem, clarifying at least part of these questions.

The conclusion is that there is no ideal motorization but each one adapts to the various needs with the electric car that will surely have its most sensible use mainly in the city and where temperatures are milder.

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