It takes 50 to 70 thousand miles of driving to offset the EV’s CO2 production overhead.
If an EV is built for you today, it will release 70% more greenhouse gasses than similar internal combustion vehicle. You would have to drive 50 to 70 thousand miles before you would offset the CO2 emissions from production. An average American drives 14,263 miles per year. So, it would take about 3.5 to 5 years to offset. After that period, EVs will be cleaner.
Batteries in EVs last for 1000 thousand cycles or more. But even if the car lasts 10 years, the EV would emit less CO2. EV’s carbon footprint could be 55% smaller depending on the energy source. The average is around 28%.
But EVs will last longer than 10 years and 140 thousand miles. Everything above that greatly benefits the environment.
Check out the study where Volvo compared its EV to a similar ICE (PDF)
Carbon footprint for C40 Recharge and XC40 ICE, with different electricity mixes.