I am often asked if converting US cars to battery power would result in a net reduction of CO2 emissions. After all the electricity needed to recharge tomorrow's vehicle batteries will be generated at power plants which themselves have a carbon footprint. Put another way, will the recharging of vehicle batteries from the electrical grid simply transfer the emissions of CO2 from the vehicle tail pipes to the stacks of power generating stations without effecting a net reduction in emissions?
I published a paper in the Journal "Atmospheric Environment" in which I calculate that converting passenger vehicles in the US to electric power over a ten-year period would reduce the 10-year greenhouse gas emissions from those vehicles by 23%.(Atmospheric Environment 44 (2010) 733–734).