Japan Adds EV Emissions to Fuel Economy Goals

April 24, 2019 at 1:38 AM

Japan plans new emission standards that recognize electric cars don’t directly emit pollutants, but the power plants that charge their batteries do, The Nikkei says.

The rule due this summer will give EVs a virtual fuel economy rating calculated from the carbon dioxide emitted when generating plants produce electricity to power the vehicles. The goal is to provide a more realistic picture about overall CO2 emissions as new-car fleets become increasingly electrified.

Japan’s current standards require manufacturers to achieve a fleet fuel economy average of 20 kilometers per liter (47 mpg) by 2020. The new regulation will demand an improvement of about 30% by 2030, The Nikkei reports.

CO2 is formed by combustion, so the amount of a fuel a car’s engine burns is directly related to how much CO2 it emits. Not so for EVs, which don’t directly consume fuel. Japanese regulators say that factoring in CO2 from generating plants will result in a more accurate sense of emissions attributable to cars, regardless of how the vehicles are powered.

EVs account for only about 1% of passenger vehicle sales in Japan today. But The Nikkei says that ratio could climb to 20%-30% by 2030 as carmakers look for ways to lower CO2 emissions.