Electricity from a coal plant

I just have a question about countries that get all (or most) of their electricity from coal (like Australia).
What would be the environmental implications of getting millions of cars connected to the electricity network?
I mean, the electric plant would have to generate far more electricity that it is producing at the moment, therefore it will have to burn far more coal, createing far mor CO2, and then we are back to where we started.
what is the ratio on say, one million cars producing CO2 and the CO2 created by a coal plant to give electricity to 1 million electric cars?

i hope the question is clear, if anyone knows of any link where i can find the info it would be great too.

(also, on a non-electric car topic, what are the evironmental implications of 1 million hydrogen cars producing water vapor every day?)


if people charge their cars over night, the supply will be consistant as opposed to how power consumption is currently… currently its all durring the day and night is VERY lax on power usage. so they are still making the same ammount of power just its being used at different times. spreading out the actual time power is used.


According to my knowledge there are several good reasons for producing electricity in power plants instead of producing the energy in each car.

The best solution is of course to use green energy, but even if we choose to use fossil fuel, there are still many advantages with producing the energy in power plants.
-Powerplants are more efficient than a car engine since the excess heat from the powerplant can be used for heating houses etc.
-The powerplant can be optimized to run cleaner and more optimized than a car engine.
-It is more efficient to distribute energy via powerlines instead of transporting fuel.
-There is currently ongoing projects to investigate if it is possible to capture and store the co2 from power plants.
-Smog problems in big cities would be solved.

The most important thing if we want to lower our co2 emissions is however to start building efficient cars. Volkswagen made a concept car that consumes 1litre/100km. Loremo develops a 1,5litre/100km car. These cars would be perfect as EV cars.
I really can´t figure out what makes people buy bigger and bigger cars when we are running out of energy in the world…

Best Regards,

thanks for your replies guys.
I guess i was just after some study or documentation that has some hard core scientific background so i can use it on a site.
Something with a percentage comparing the amount of CO2 produced by say 1 million cars, against the amount of CO2 produced by an electricity plant to charge those electric cars to run for the same number of kilometers the petrol cars run with a full tank


Hi Calford,

Here you can find some discussions and comparisons between the total efficiency of electric vs. gas cars.



thanks a lot Andreas
that is what i was looking for

Coal is the solid end-product of millions of years of decomposition of organic materials. In truth, coal is stored solar energy. Plants capture the energy from sunlight through photosynthesis, which directly converts solar energy to plant matter. Animals that then eat the plants to convert that energy again, storing it in their own bodies.

Over millions of years, accumulated plant and animal matter is covered by sediment and stored within the earth’s crust, gradually being transformed into hard black solids by the sheer weight of the earth’s surface. Coal, like other fossil fuel supplies, takes millions of years to create, but releases its stored energy within only a few moments when burned to generate electricity. Because coal is a finite resource, and cannot be replenished once it is extracted and burned, it cannot be considered a renewable resource.

The nation's fleet of over 100 coal plants is responsible for 57 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S., more than any other single electricity fuel source.

Coal is typically burned to create steam, which is then piped at high pressure over a turbine, causing it to rotate, producing electricity. This steam electric system is a common one also used with other fuel sources, including oil, natural gas, geothermal, biomass, and even some solar-fueled systems.
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Here is a relevant blog:
Line of Apsides: Valuing Electric Vehicles…