Mirror Mirror on the wall, Who is greenest of them all?
Comparison will use the average mileage, or kilometerage per year for each vehicle, so the Tesla's impact will be based on 42,750 km per year, Honda has been motoring along for 15 years, so 32,000 km PA, the dumb truck could only manage 11,761 diesel burning km a year.
But wait the Tesla is electric, so zero emissions right? Well no, not exactly. Batteries need to be charged. Assuming our Tesla was charged from the Alberta grid, the Tesla is running on 43% coal generated electricity, 49% natural gas electricity and 8% non fossil fuel sources such as hydro, wind and biomass (i.e. pig shit and wood chips) according to Canada's Energy Regulator. Biomass and biofuels such as ethanol also emit CO2, but they are good CO2s, not evil like fossil fuel CO2s.
According to the US EPA the Tesla S 100D averages 33 Kilowatt hours per 100 miles (161 km). So the Tesla used 8,762.4 kwh per year. Breaking it down, that would be 3639 coal fired kilowatt hours, 4146 natural gas kwh, and 677 non fossil fuel kwh. Which means the Tesla burned two tons of coal if the US EIA is correct that it requires 1.13 pound of coal to make one kilowatt hour of electricity.
According to various internet sources, a Honda Civic with 1.6 liter engine and manual transmission gets 34 miles per US gallon or 6.92 Liter per 100 km, so Civic guzzled 2214.4 liters of gasoline per year. Our Diesel truck with 6.7 liter Cummins motor comes in somewhere around 15 mpg or 15.7 liter per 100 km, for a total of 1,846.4 liters of diesel fuel. So how does that translate to CO2 emissions? Glad you asked. The results from last to first...
Third place RAM 4,925 Kg CO2e.
Second place, Honda 5,112 Kg CO2e.
The winner is... Tesla! 7,185 Kg CO2e at 0.82 Kg CO2e per kwh Alberta generated electrons.
So Tesla wins, but only in Alberta. Tesla comes in first in emissions because its owner couldn't stop driving the effing thing and Alberta electricity is 92% dead dinosaur. We should all learn from the RAM, which, while being very cool does not spend a lot of time spewing deadly green house gases. The red neck suspects the majority of RAM kilometers were accumulated before it was tastefully modified into an outstanding example of early twenty first century folk art. Should hyperactive Tesla and Honda owners follow the lead of custom four wheel drive lifted pick up truck owners, the impact on carbon emission reduction could be enormous.