A Tesla Model 3 is touted as a zero-emissions car by government regulators, but it actually results in more carbon dioxide than a comparable diesel-powered car, according to a recent study.
When the CO2 emissions from battery production is included, electric cars, like Teslas, are “in the best case, slightly higher than those of a diesel engine, and are otherwise much higher,” reads a release from the German think tank IFO.
California, for example, requires automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions in cars by producing lower emissions vehicles or buying credits from companies, like Tesla, that make electric vehicles. At the federal level, the U.S. gives tax breaks of up to $7,500 per electric vehicle.
Federal subsidies for Teslas are set to be phased out since the company, founded by Elon Musk, hit the 200,000-vehicle production cap. However, Congress is debating whether or not to extend electric car subsidies.
It’s not just battery production, but charging vehicles that emit lots of CO2. Germany gets 35 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, so charging a Tesla in, say, Bavaria results in 83 grams of CO2 per kilometer driven.