Should we go out and buy shares in Tesla? We have had a few questions from clients asking for ethical investments in their portfolios and Tesla is a name that comes up amongst these discussions. Tesla heavily promotes itself as the green future of transport. So, is this a ground breaking technology that will save the environment? Let’s take a look under the hood.

No prizes for guessing what powers an electric car and surely electricity is cleaner fuel than petrol, right? Teslas are charged via a hook up to a power outlet in your house and that electricity comes from a power station which, for the most part, is generated from burning coal. There are also losses in transmission along the power lines, and losses in the battery as it is charged. I have not included those losses in my calculations below as they are difficult to quantify.

I will base my comparison on the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that is emitted. There are plenty of other pollutants for both Electric cars and Petrol engines but for the purpose of this assessment we will just look at CO2. The average amount of CO2 per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated varies from state to state due to the differing ways electricity is generated. In Queensland, it averages out at 0.79kgs of CO2 per kilowatt hour, whereas in Victoria it’s a whopping 1.08kg of CO2 per kilowatt hour. Down in Tasmania it comes in at 0.14kg of CO2 per kilowatt-hour due to the use of hydroelectric power.

If we look at the Tesla Model 3 (below), which is a similar size to a Toyota Corolla, it has a range of 352kms on a full charge and its battery power is 57kwh. Therefore, a full charge in Queensland will emit 129g CO2 per kilometre and in Victoria that would increase to 177g CO2 per kilometre. That is about 100 litres of CO2.

According to the Green Vehicle Guide ( published by the Australian Government, a bog standard Toyota Corolla 1.8l Manuel will release about 196 grams of CO2 per kilometre in an urban environment. So, based on the Tesla emissions of 177g CO2/km above, there really is not a lot in it for Victorians.

Ideally, if you own a Tesla, you need a solar panel on the roof of your house and a battery to store the energy during the day so you can recharge overnight. Then you really are a greenie.

Please note, the above had been provided about general advice. If you would like more tailored advice about investing or any financial services, please contact us today. One of our advisers would be delighted to speak with you.