Is the Hummer EV Worst for the Environment than the Chevy Malibu?

Is the Hummer EV Worst for the Environment than the Chevy Malibu?

The latest GMC Hummer and Tesla Cybertruck competitor isn't a gas guzzler like its predecessor, but it's still a long way from being ecologically friendly.

According to a study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a non-profit research group focusing on energy efficiency, the reborn brand does not look to be the eco-conscious bruiser aficionados were hoping for. While the 2017 GMC Hummer EV is more efficient than its predecessors, the non-profit organization discovered that the battery-powered truck emits more greenhouse gases than a gas-powered car. How is that possible?

It is true that the new Hummer EV, like other EVs, has no tailpipe emissions, but it does emit greenhouse gas emissions. Battery-powered vehicles, such as the GMC's Supertruck, are fueled by the electric grid, and according to ACEEE, 60% of the electricity in the United States is generated by burning fossil fuels. As a result, until the grid is totally carbon-free, EVs will still be liable for "upstream emissions."

The GMC Hummer EV is not your usual eco-friendly car, with a 212.7-kWh battery pack weighing 2,923 pounds (1,325 kilograms) and a curb weight of 9,063 pounds (4,111 kilograms).

Since learning about the EPA rating of 47 MPGe on the combined cycle, it has become painfully apparent that the efficiency of the all-electric pickup truck isn't something to brag about. However, a new study throws light on an often-overlooked aspect: the CO2 emissions of EVs caused by the way the electricity that fuels them is generated. So while EVs have zero tailpipe emissions, they are nevertheless accountable for a lot of greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the group, legislators and activists should look into methods to improve EV efficiency and limit their environmental effect, because over 60% of power in the United States is generated by burning fossil fuels. According to ACEEE, until the grid is totally carbon-free, there will be upstream emissions from generating the electricity to power EVs.

In this regard, the non-profit offers the Hummer EV as an example, calculating that the electric pickup generates 341 grams of CO2 per mile after accounting for grid emissions. This is much higher than the Chevy Bolt EV's 92 grams of CO2 per mile and exceeds the 320 grams per mile rating of the gas-powered Chevrolet Malibu.

According to ACEEE, the environmental effect of EVs isn't only about the electricity generated to power each mile; the manufacturing process also releases greenhouse gases at multiple stages, known as the vehicle's embedded emissions.

EVs rely on minerals that must be mined, processed, and transformed into batteries, and as manufacturers strive for longer driving ranges, batteries frequently get larger, boosting embodied emissions. Of course, the same might be said of efforts to obtain and refine petroleum, which contributes to global warming.

GMC's all-electric Supertruck is without a doubt the most fuel-efficient Hummer yet. And, it bears reiterating, the SUV does not emit smog-causing emissions into the atmosphere. However, as the ACEEE analysis shows, when it comes to carbon emissions, the Hummer EV may be more like its predecessors than anyone imagined.

As always, all attention in the electric truck space is still focused on the not yet available Tesla Cybertruck. Let's hope that its carbon footprint is not as disappointing as that of the Hummer EV.

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