How Green Is Tesla?

Tesla Motors Inc TSLA has become the poster child for clean energy in recent years. But have you ever wondered just how green the company and its vehicles actually are?

According to alternative energy expert Mike Barnard, Tesla is far from carbon-neutral, but it’s still much better than the competition.

In terms of production, Teslas get off to a rough start. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the production of a full-sized Tesla Model S requires 15 percent more total C02 emissions than the production of a full-sized internal combustion car.

Related Link: How To Try Tesla's Autopilot Before Buying It

Despite the head start out of the gate, the tide completely turns once the rubber hits the road.

The UCS estimates that a midsize battery-electric vehicle generates 51 percent less of a carbon footprint throughout its life cycle than a similarly-sized gasoline car. For cars in the full-size range, there is a 53 percent reduction.

Even though much of the electricity used to power the Model S and other electric cars is generated from coal, electric vehicles still cut a driver’s ultimate carbon footprint in half.

Tesla even recovers 70 percent of the carbon from its batteries via its recycling program.

“As long as people are buying and driving cars, Teslas are excellent choices regarding carbon emissions,” Barnard concluded.

Tesla recently unveiled its first attempt at the mass automobile market with its highly-anticipated Model 3, which has Autopilot capabilities. General Motors Company GM is set to begin shipping its answer to the Model 3, the Bolt EV, later this year.

Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.

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