China's Electric (A.K.A. Coal-Fueled) Car Companies Soar On Promise Of Petrol Vehicle Ban

Tyler Durden's picture

A few weeks ago we highlighted an 'inconvenient fact' for the publicly traded electric car manufacturers and the environmentally-conscious Left, namely that, according to Morgan Stanley, electric cars generate more CO2 than they save.  As a stark reminder to our left-leaning political elites who created these companies with massive taxpayer funded subsidies in the United States, Morgan Stanley pointed out that while electric cars don't burn gasoline they do have to be charged using electricity generated by coal and other fossil fuels.

This is where Tesla, along with China’s Guoxuan High-Tech fall short.


“Whilst the electric vehicles and lithium batteries manufactured by these two companies do indeed help to reduce direct CO2 emissions from vehicles, electricity is needed to power them,” Morgan Stanley wrote. “And with their primary markets still largely weighted towards fossil-fuel power (72% in the U.S. and 75% in China) the CO2 emissions from this electricity generation are still material.”


In other words, “the carbon emissions generated by the electricity required for electric vehicles are greater than those saved by cutting out direct vehicle emissions.”


Morgan Stanley calculated that an investment of $1 million in Canadian Solar results in nearly 15,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide being saved every year. For Tesla, such an investment adds nearly one-third of a metric ton of CO2.

Which seems like the perfect backdrop to report on the recent comments of Xin Guobin, vice-minister of industry and information technology, who told a forum in the northern city of Tianjin over the weekend that his ministry had started “relevant research” for establishing a timeline to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles in the Chinese market.  According to The Guardian, Xin said the policy would be implemented "in the near future."

“These measures will promote profound changes in the environment and give momentum to China’s auto industry development,” he said in remarks broadcast by CCTV state television.


“Enterprises should strive to improve the level of energy saving for traditional cars, and vigorously develop new energy vehicles according to assessment requirements,” he said.


China produced and sold more than 28m vehicles last year, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.

Ironically, China generates 65% of its power, more than double the U.S., from the "dirtiest" fuel available: coal.  So, while the move to electric cars will undoubtedly be praised by blissfully ignorant politicians and environmental lobbyists, the end result will be even higher carbon emissions.

Cina Power


Of course, this is hardly a China-centric development as Bloomberg recently noted that almost 80% of the global auto market is pushing toward a phase-out of petroleum cars in favor of more "environmentally friendly" electric vehicles.


Meanwhile, aggregate global electric vehicle sales are expected to overtake internal combustion engines within about 20 years.


Ironically, the end result of this effort to 'save the environment' will be more expensive vehicles, landfills full of lithium-ion batteries and more coal-fired generation plants...but, somehow we suspect those 'inconvenient facts' are lost on our politicians and enviros who seem determined to subsidize Elon's trip to Mars.

Oh well, at least electric car investors in China are having a good day...

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koan's picture

China running on coal is one reason Texas and Florida got flattened.

northern vigor's picture

I thought it was a butterfly fluttering its wings in the Amazon.

knukles's picture

Hah ha ha ha ha
You want ecology and to stop petroleum based cars, right?
Here ya go.

They're developing energy independence.  And I'll betcha betcha betcha they ain't gonna be paying for that coal juice in Greenbacks, neither.

IH8OBAMA's picture

"...electric cars generate more CO2 than they save."

The irony.  Good thing CO2 doesn't really contribute to climate warming.


eforce's picture

Perhaps that's the real purpose of Climate Change™, the end of the petro dollar.

oncemore's picture

Then they have to switch to yuan, if they want to dump usd, ecars is an oximoron.. Technically.

garypaul's picture

Good observation. And to that I would also add the issue of "rare-earth" metals they say China has plenty of.

spag's picture

chinese smart, have electric cars, get pollution out of cities. locate coal power plants on east coast, send all the crap to japan and california as the wind blows east.

January Jones's picture

You no come here anymore! You eat, you go home!

SoDamnMad's picture

And the Chinese are funding and constructing coal-fired power plants all over Africa.  This "export" of theirs so they can bring pollution and climate change to Africa while the world pisses on the US for withdrawing from the Paris Accord. Thank you President Trump.

Tallest Skil's picture

Is what you would say if you wanted to look like a fucking idiot, sure.

koan's picture

Oh but you don't believe 7.5 billion humans burning coal and farting cause weather anomalies do you.

koan's picture

You know... the thing about ZH is I feel great whether I get marked up or marked down, as long as it's marked.
Suck a dick you fucks.

subversion's picture

Chinese electric with exploding batteries. Quality you can trust from the communist capital of the world.

50-cent army incoming in 3, 2 ....

Normalcy Bias's picture

I sure hope they're not SUPER LUSTY brand batteries (an actual Chinese battery brand, but shockingly, the batteries did not work).

GuestAug's picture

Of course you are typing this BS on a communist-made computer, aren't you?

Yen Cross's picture

  So all the Chinese cars are going to be Stanley Steamers?

taketheredpill's picture

FWIW  ive done the numbers twice and an electric car (using coal fueled poeer stations) puts out 30% of the CO2 of a gasoline car.


Battery metals etc are open to debate but the reduced pollution is a fact.

Just sayin. 

Common_Law's picture

Did you factor in power transmission and conversion? There's tons of losses.

taketheredpill's picture

So add another 5%. Big whoop.

roddy6667's picture

Currently 65-70% of all electricity generated in the US is from fossil fuels.

A vast majority of those fossil fuel electric power plants are about 35-38% thermal efficient. The balance of the fuel's energy is wasted.

Electricity is wasted during the distribution in the power lines, charging the battery, vampire battery losses, and discharge losses when operating the vehicle.

The net result is that a Tesla uses about 20-23% of the energy value in the fuel.

On the other hand, a Prius hybrid vehicle uses about 40% of the energy in the fuel.

So, a hybrid is almost twice as energy efficient as a pure EV. PLUS, the EV is much heavier which further decreases energy efficiency.

Yes, an electric motor is about 95-98% energy efficient, but that is the smallest part of the equation.

When you can assure me that all EV's will not use electric grid power and will only use self generated non-fossil fuel I will start listening to your biased nonsense which, at this time, is not supported by any back of the envelope scientific analysis. 

MozartIII's picture

Must have more central planing. Can't let the free market create solution that would give the government or large corporations a black eye. This will go over like a lead balloon for china.

GuestAug's picture

There has not been anything resembling free market in anything related to energy (carbon-based or otherwise) for at least 100 years, just producer cartels that bribe governments and price-gouge consumers.

MK13's picture

Florida got partially flattened and texas got partially flooded because of hurricanes - what does that have to do with anything?

earleflorida's picture

clean coal?

is it doable?


the auto-industry hates the reality of having to give up their 19th century combustion engines...

afterall--- its a golden goose that never stops giving...[?]

but i believe that the technology is there today to get emissions down big`tyme,... without giving up on this 'Dirty-Filthy-Black-Coal' which ironically has been a faithful energy source for mankind well over a millenium?

Oliver Klozoff's picture

"the auto-industry hates the reality of having to give up their 19th century combustion engines..."


I know at least one of the big 3 is pushing the shift to all electric so that they are placing chargers in all the best employee parking spots at their facilities. Parking can be nightmarish at most big 3 facilities.

Dave's not here's picture

Chinese nookie..mmmmmmm

QEpp's picture

Since when did the rulers of China give a shit about the environment or it's people?  Not many places on earth where the people have to walk around with masks to protect themselves from the air.  This is all about posturing and image.

delacroix's picture

bangkok, manila, mexico city.

roddy6667's picture

I'm almost 70 and I remember when America was the same way, back when it had heavy industry. LA had acrid smog from cars that sat for days and burned your lungs. Two years ago I was in Bethlehem PA, home of Bethlehem Steel, the largest steel manufacturer in the world. The old steel mill is still there. When they were running, the entire area was covered in dust. Every car, house yard, fence, school, etc. Detroit and most manufacturing cities were like this. The Cuyahoga River used to catch fire on a regular basis because of the flammable pollutants factories dumped. The East River in NYC was so polluted that standup comics joked about it all the time. Ever heard of Love Canal? Places like that were common. As a hunter and fisherman, I was quite aware of the polluted world we lived in. It was in the Sixties that a real effort began to clean up America's air, waters, and lands. In 1973, the first pollution control devices were made mandatory on cars. The cleanup went well. Japan was one of the most heavily polluted countries in the world because of their manufacturing boom after WWII. They turned things around quickly. China is copying Japanese methods in their efforts to clean up the environment.

I live in China, and I have seen visible efforts in the last two years in air quality. Thousands of older coal-fired electrical generating plants and factories were shut down. More than 20 nuclear generating plants are being built right now. Cutting back on electrical demand has been instrumental in making the air clean. To put a lot of electric cars on the road now would reverse these efforts. 

All countries go through a polluting phase in their heavy manufacturing. America was no different. Most people are too young to remember and assume that everything important that happened in the world took place after they finished high school. Nobody knows history any more.

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

+1 Roddy, nothing new under the sun.

Expat's picture

The level of ignorance is appalling.  People call for coal and gasoline use to be unfettered and unregulated because they live in a country where it has been regulated.  If America is relatively clean, it is because of organizations like the EPA dn Greenpeace.  Of course, Trumpeteers are too young to remember what you described and too lazy to read about history so they simply assume that the left wants to limit coal and heavy industry because the left hates America.

There is nothing you can do with willful ignorance. 

pparalegal's picture

Where is ANTIFA when you need them? Oh wait, they would be beaten then jailed for some time and couldn't make it back to Evergreen college for a diverse education.

Dammit Walter's picture

It is simple.  China produces more coal than oil.  This is a choice to ensure that some external producer cannot cripple their economy by issuing an oil embargo, for example.  Recall what happened to the USA back in the 70's.

China doesn't care if it is a global pollutor.  It is strategic.  

ET's picture


A diversified energy source for transportation fuel is a good strategy.

AE911Truth's picture

No need for coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, wind or solar sourced energy.


Off grid power: InfinitySAV, Tariel Kapanadze, Noman Shah Afridi and BrilliantLight Power.


Tariel Kapanadze:

Noman Shah Afridi:

BrilliantLight Power:

Petroleum is obsolete:


skinwalker's picture

I looked at the website.

Where exactly does one get the dark matter to run the reaction? Does dark matter even exist?

IH8OBAMA's picture

I produce a little "dark matter" every morning after breakfast.


Expat's picture

Not only does it exist, but the stuff we are made of, bayronic matter, is just a smidgen of the mass-energy that makes up the universe.

Neochrome's picture

Solar power generation is actually raising fast in China.

jimmy12345's picture

Clina is the leader in solar installations and continues to invest heavily in solar and wind.

GotAFriendInBen's picture

Is it better the have power generated  for tens of thouands of cars in one centrally located regulated plant or have tens of thousands of cars and hoopdies spewing CO and NO everywhere?

Former wins everytime

quesnay's picture

Which is better?

Coal -> Electricity -> Battery storage -> Mechanical energy

Gas -> Mechanical energy

You know there is a great tool for deciding which is better. It's called capitalism. If electric is cheaper and more efficient than let it compete in a capitalist system without subsidies and it will surely win. If it can't win without subsidies and laws to help it, then I guess it's not really better afterall.

GuestAug's picture

"Gas -> Mechanical energy"   LOL

You have no clue as to how internal combustion engine works.  Please refrain from additional comments on this topic.

quesnay's picture

I also left out coal -> heat -> steam -> mechanical energy -> electrical energy. Didn't realize itemizing each step was necessary to the argument. But if you insist:

coal -> heat -> steam -> mechanical energy -> electrical energy -> transmission losses -> storage -> mechanical energy


gasoline -> heated gasses-> mechanical energy.


But by all means don't address the core issue i.e. if it really is more efficient, then it should have no problem competing on it's own merit without subsidies/laws.

Expat's picture

That is not the core issue.

Expat's picture

Do you have a flat screen tv, jewelry, or cute daughters?  There is a great tool for deciding who get them; it's called the Law of the Jungle.  I'll stop by with ten guys with guns and take all that, thanks.

The question is not which energy is more efficient.  We are concerned with diseconomies, externalities and non-convexitites.  If you think unregulated capitalism is the solution, I invite you to move to China or Somalia for a year.

DaveA's picture

If you're going to run cars on coal, wouldn't it make more sense to use methanol as your middleman instead of electricity? Other liquid fuels can also be made from coal (see "synfuels"), but methanol is the easiest.

China should just adopt the Zubrin Plan: Require all new piston-engine cars to accept any mixture of methanol, ethanol, and gasoline, then let the free market decide which liquid is best.