University of Michigan, Ford study examines potential greenhouse gas savings tied to EVs

The study, which factors in EV manufacturing and charging processes, comes as Ford restructures to separate its electric and gasoline-powered focus.


Researchers at the University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company have conducted a study into the potential greenhouse gas savings associated with light-duty electric cars, trucks and SUVs. It finds that EVs are more environmentally friendly across the vehicle’s lifespan, with pickup trucks offering a particularly large reduction over gasoline models.

The study factored in the increased greenhouse gas emissions tied to manufacturing EV batteries. It also researched a popular counter-argument against going electric — that while the cars and trucks themselves are much cleaner, the power grid infrastructure used to charge the vehicle’s battery is still far from carbon neutral.

“Once we get consumers into [electric] vehicles, I think they’ll love them.” — Cynthia Williams, Ford Motor Company

Cynthia Williams is the global director of sustainability, homologation and compliance at Ford Motor Company. She says the research found that EVs offer more greenhouse gas savings than their gasoline counterparts in over 90% of U.S. counties during the vehicles’ lifespan.

“That’s charging energy source,” says Williams, “they looked at geography — they looked at the impact of the battery electric fuel economy.”

Listen: Ford global director of sustainability talks EV environmental impact and company restructuring.


The report comes in the wake of Ford’s recent announcement that it’s separating its electric and non-electric vehicle projects into two entities. “Ford Blue” will focus on the automaker’s gasoline-powered projects, while “Ford Model e” will zero in on the company’s battery-driven portfolio.

Williams says she doesn’t think Ford has plans to completely phase out its gasoline vehicle arm in the future. However she adds the automaker feels there are a lot of benefits to an EV switch, including driver experience.

“We think there’s a lot to offer there,” says Williams. “And so once we get consumers into the vehicles, I think they’ll love them.”

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  • Alex McLenon
    Alex McLenon is a Reporter with 101.9 WDET. McLenon is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he studied Media Arts & Production and Broadcast Journalism.