Switching to an EV really will save lives

Luke 'Perry' Pereira

An estimated two million EVs equates to 20,000 fewer deaths from climate change.


Buying an electric car today will save lives tomorrow. Just last year, a study from Nature Communications estimated that “adding 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020—equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 3.5 average Americans—causes one excess death globally in expectation between 2020-2100.”

That is to say, the carbon emitted now causes deaths later—83 million metric tons of carbon, according to that study’s baseline projections. Thus, the proliferation of electric cars today saves lives tomorrow.

Based on that, Ars Tehnica calculated that 20,000 lives are saved based on emissions savings through the adoption of Tesla EVs alone (not counting other brands). 

Using math from  Tesla’s Impact Report, In short, each person who gives up their ICE car to drive an EV gets a lifetime carbon savings of about 40 metric tons. To date, Tesla has sold over 2 million cars. That translates to a savings of 80 million metric tons of carbon.

Given that every 4,000 metric tons of carbon emitted are expected to cause one additional death (per the study quoted above), that yields about 20,000 lives saved. Keep in mind that those figures only include Tesla cars and not the other 10 million estimated EVs sold by other manufacturers. If we take into account the total number of EVs worldwide, the lives saved jump to a whopping 120,000.

Bear in mind that Nature Communications’ study only counts deaths from overheating (e.g., heat stroke). But climate change can also kill in other ways such as drowning, starvation, and other non-related diseases.  

Even if we ignore those climate projections, there’s the simple fact that even with fossil fuel-powered grids (especially less harmful ones like Singapore’s natural gas-powered grid), EVs will reduce local air pollution significantly, another major cause of unnatural deaths. 


charging EV

About the Author

Luke 'Perry' Pereira

CarBuyer's content creator loves producing entertaining, relatable content. He spends all year waiting around for Mariah Carey. Rumour has it he was married twice and is 'Luke Perry' incarnate are unfounded. @lukeypereira

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