In the public perception, electric vehicles (EVs) do not use fossil fuels, so they will be more low-carbon and environmentally friendly than conventional vehicles. But in one expert's opinion, that's not the case at this stage.

If China's energy mix doesn't change, and 67 percent of the electricity in the grid still comes from burning coal, then electric cars are increasing carbon emissions rather than reducing them, said Liu Ke, a foreign member of the Australian National Academy of Engineering and dean of the School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southern University of Science and Technology, on Friday.

Electric vehicles can only be considered clean energy if the majority of the energy mix and grid is renewable energy, Liu said in a speech.

He argued that improving energy efficiency is an important means to reduce carbon, but as long as fossil energy is used, the contribution of energy efficiency to carbon neutrality is also very limited.

Liu believes that, as things stand now, improving the storage of nighttime electricity through energy storage facilities is one important means of reducing energy consumption.

"In the interval between 12 midnight and 6 a.m., thermal power plants are generating electricity that no one is using, even though they are still emitting a lot of CO2," he claimed.

Using distributed heat storage modules to store electricity in the form of heat during hours when electricity is underestimated and then use it for heating or air conditioning when needed can significantly reduce CO2 emissions, he claims.

It is worth noting that this was not the first time experts had made such points.

In 2017, a study by five scientists at Tsinghua University showed that the electricity used in new energy vehicles, combined with the battery production process that consumes a lot of energy, makes greenhouse gas emissions from new energy vehicles in China actually 50 percent higher than those from internal combustion engine vehicles.

But why is China still vigorously developing the new energy vehicle industry?

Although a large amount of electricity now comes from coal, with the advancement of other power generation technologies, such as hydro, wind, solar and tidal energy, it was previously reported that the proportion of electricity generated from coal is expected to be reduced to less than 50 percent by 2030.

With the development of other power generation technologies, the cost of obtaining energy will be reduced to a minimum, pollution will also be reduced to a minimum, then the new energy vehicles will also become the most environmentally friendly transportation in the future.

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