Report Claims Tesla Model S Is Less Eco-Friendly Than Mitsubishi Mirage

The Tesla Model S is often heralded as the best electric vehicle on the market but a new report suggests it might not actually be that environmentally friendly.

As Auto Express reports, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology compared the lifecycle CO2 emissions of several different vehicles including a BMW 7-Series, a Mitsubishi Mirage, and a Tesla Model S.

 The results are a tad surprising as the report claims the Mirage is actually the most eco-friendly of the group as the car emits 192 grams of CO2 for every kilometer it is driven. The Model S wasn’t far behind at 226 g/km, while the 7-Series registered 385 g/km.

While you’re probably thinking how can an electric vehicle produce CO2 emissions, MIT Tranick Lab examined multiple factors including how much emissions were created in the vehicle’s production and how much emissions would be made when the vehicle was scrapped. They also examined how much CO2 would be produced as a result of powering the vehicle whether it used gasoline or electricity generated by power plants.

The researchers appeared to have made several assumptions but they stress they weren’t trying to shine a negative light on electric vehicles. As MIT’s Jessika Trancik explained, “Both hybrids and electric vehicles are better than conventional cars.”

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  • LeStori

    There is no free lunch. Someone always has to pay. Of course this is all irrelevant if you live in a major city and you want to move the pollution from your city to somewhere else. The EV wins hands down. If you are out to “Save the Planet” then it is a different story. The car in any form is a liability. But the real liability is humans. We need to be saved from ourselves.

    • Honda NSX-R

      Commuting to work by bike, foot, or public transportation are literally your best options if you want to save the planet. Carpooling would work great too.

      • I strongly agree with you, I use my car rarely and only for fun (trackdays or weekend trips)

        But these options are not in line with carmakers strategies, while EV propaganda can help them to sell more vehicles in the future…

      • TheHake

        And if you work 75km from home like me?

        • edg

          You can still carpool with colleagues if there are any living nearby.

          Also, I’m sure there’s an app where you can find heading a similar direction to you, and carpool with them.

          • TheHake

            Lol. Bro, I’m living in a rural part of the Netherlands. There are certainly no apps covering this area. I need my car. My OWN car.

    • Moveon Libtards

      And if EVs are not economically viable, like being environmentally viable, there are no amount of smoke and mirrors or propaganda that will make it work in the real world. You can only live off other people’s money for so long…Tesla is finding this out the hard way as it is starting to collapse…

    • Moveon Libtards

      You are right, people are tired of paying for other people’s pipe dreams, fancy dinners, political hobnobbing, and snake oil salemen yapping.

      Time for Tesla to pay up in the form of no more American taxpayer subsidies. Especially when they are now probably going to move production to China. Great investment of your hard-earned tax dollars, Americans!

    • Nick099

      Cars were invented to save us from horses…and their “emissions”…no joke.
      Major cities were overwhelmed by mountains of horse dung.
      One solution may lead to another problem.

      • TheHake

        “One solution may lead to another problem.”
        One solution WILL lead to another problem.

  • Bill Nguyen

    I’m not really surprised by this. The Mirage has all the style, performance, and design panache of a tin can, so why would its carbon footprint be any bigger than that of a tin can?


    • TheHake

      How much charisma does EV’s have?

      • Bill Nguyen

        It was just a joke 😉
        Most EV’s are boring as hell, that’s why I think great designs are gonna be important from now on. Tesla’s look good, and obviously people want them, so they have that down at least.

  • Jp

    Finally some common sense. How can someone believe that a 2+ tons car be as energy efficient as a small city car? Brake friction, tire debris are one of the most polluting parts of a car.

    That being said, on the engine efficiency side, it has to be said that, while the typical power plants are heavy CO2 contributors, an EV car can be powered by renewable energy sources. Thus, EVs have the advantage that they CAN be cleaner, given proper private and public efforts, while a diesel or petrol engine will burn fuel no matter what.


    Hmm…..fanboys won’t be too pleased about this. I can already hear them furiously typing away at their keyboards. lol

    • brn

      I don’t think anyone is cross shopping a Mirage with a Model S. Fanboys will be fine.

      • LWOAP

        Not so much the cross shopping as is the vehicle’s carbon footprint. I’m guessing being no less cleaner than a Mirage won’t sit too well.

      • Moveon Libtards

        I don’t think anyone is buying a Model S based on sales data these days.

        • Nick099

          Nor logic.

      • TheHake

        BWAHAHAHA. Yep.

  • pcurve

    In other news, Mirage is not as nice as Tesla.

    • Auto

      Constructed with not as nice materials but probably better put together.

      • pcurve

        ouch… won’t disagree with you there.

    • Moveon Libtards

      Oh, wait, I thought it was all about the “environment” through?!


  • Honda NSX-R

    Somewhat offtopic, but I think the Mirage could be very fun as a track car. It’s a POS, but it has potential to be fun.

  • David

    Who is financing the research? Exxon or BP? well if that is the case the findings makes sense, I do not care I am going electric no matter what!

    • Moveon Libtards

      Sorry facts get in the way of your blowhard political and social propaganda.

      You remind me of the sco warriors preachers who tell other people how to live and buy elitist Teslas, all the while taking planes all around the world to backpack, etc. One trip in a plane does way more environmental damage than 10 SUVs a year. And unlike cars which are needed for work, most people do not need to fly…it is for fun and vanity mostly.

      • David

        I am not preaching I just expressed my opinion, free country. I don’t think I can afford a Tesla, the new Nissan Leaf will do, or I can wait couple of years and get my hands on a used Bolt. cheers!

    • Nick099

      I have nothing against electric cars…except taxpayer subsidies and the danger of a moving 1,200 bomb of lithium-ion. The simple matter of it all, is that an electric car, currently, hides its environmental dirt from the buyer’s sight by distributing it before and after the sale and use.

      Sort of like the people who give money to the homeless person on the street. It makes them feel good that they did something nice, but absolutely changes nothing…or possibly makes the situation worse. But hey, it’s hidden from their sight…and their minds. So they continue on in their delusion that they are helping the world.

      Which again is just fine. Go ahead and live in your little bubble, just don’t bother me to pay for it. It’s on you.

      • David

        Totally agree with you, seems like there is no win for the environment EVs or ICEs or anything produced by man causes pollution. By the way I am not counting on the federal tax, I will buy electric anyways even if the tax credit is taken away. Every car I ever owned I did not receive any tax credit, I have modest means but I know I can do it.

    • TheHake

      I am staying with something with soul, no matter what. So no electric lawnmower for me.

      • David

        I am with you, I am going to miss my twin turbo Explorer’s soul, but I want to make the switch to electric just to pitch in two cents to help reduce emission and combat global warming.

        • pureworx

          reduce emissions? or just relocate? what about all the other pollutants involved in the electronics and the truth about where they end up when recycled?.. usually a landfill in africa, poisoning the only source of water the poor have living near by.. or the scavengerss who then go about stripping the landfill for precious metals to feed their families and in turn are poisoned?

          battery EV is not the answer.. hydrogen fuel cells they way forward and doesnt need massive infrastructural changes.. with slight adaptation exisiting fueling network can be used and tanks can be filled within 5 mins.. unlike battery EVs which require charging networks and hours of charge time.. not to mention the loss of range over time and use..

  • Taegon Lewis

    Sooner or later, the current Mirage will become the new Prius, when it’s comes to being a nonsensical (yet) surprisingly effective competitor. Just like in London, when a Prius knocked down a Brabus-tuned G-Wagen.

  • liams92

    Doesn’t take into account that an electric car will become cleaner and cleaner over its lifetime as the grid becomes inevitably cleaner throughout the cars ~20 year life. This can never be the case for ICE.

    • Moveon Libtards

      Doesnt take into account Tesla is dying because it doesnt have a viable economic model. And when that gravy train tax credit gets cut soon, adios…

    • Nick099

      The battery itself is dirty. The electric car is not ready for prime time yet.

      • liams92

        Yeah, I get the point they are alluding to. Wonder if they took the entire Co2 output from well to wheel of the fuel that powers the ICE car and not just what happens in the factory and comes out the back. 6kWh of electricity needed to refine a singe gallon of crude oil into petrol. Not to mention pumping it out the ground and shipping it round the world in ships and trucks.

  • Six_Tymes

    ends with this > “Both hybrids and electric vehicles are better than conventional cars.” while the rest states the opposite. since both cant be true, which is it? or is Jessika Trancik such a left wing extremist that she cant handle the truths she herself has researched?

    • Nick099

      Yep, that’s about it.

    • Marty

      Did you read?
      The test is based on “Midwest US”, meaning most of the electricity comes from boiling water over a fire made up of stuff that you dig up. Unsurprisingly not the most efficient way to propel cars, especially not high spec five meter luxury cars.

  • David mcCreery

    This is what economists and statisticians have shown to be the case for China’s effort to be fully EV so quickly (somewhere around 7 million by 2025 and banned fossil fuels around 2030-2040). China is so determined to ramp up so quickly, with the numbers they want to achieve on the time frame that they want, the amount of fossil fuels and pollution as a side effect in manufacturing the batteries and vehicles in that span will actually mean that by average not a single one in that period will save more energy than was needed to manufacture them. Ironyyyyyy.

  • David mcCreery

    Also, does anyone else find it funny that the vehicle to clear our eyes and show that EV manufacturing can cause worse pollution is called a Mirage?

    • Moveon Libtards

      Some people dont read or accept facts, so dont even bother trying to convince them. They still think Hillary has a 96% chance of winning…

      • Matt

        This is a car site.

      • Enter Ranting

        We get it, Libtard! You hate Tesla and you can’t get over Hillary. Give it a rest!

  • Rocc E. Normyss

    Uummmmm, duuhhrrrrrr!

  • Moveon Libtards

    A “negative” article on Tesla on this site?

    The world IS ending!!!

    You need to mention that without a stable economic model, not huge amounts of taxpayer funds, is needed also for any industry to survive. It is not “green” when billions of taxes are being used to articificially prop up a pipe dream that could be used for actually saving the environment, health care, or helping the poor.

  • Is it possible to read the MIT study? The thing is they’re proposing a CO2-eq/km, I guess as a result of total CO2 produced / total mileage, since production and recycling are giving an amount of CO2 that’s there even if the car is not used.

    To do that they should have guessed an average life, something similar to 100000 km in 5 years, or something, on a single battery pack.

    I think that with real life mileage Tesla S CO2-eq/km is even worse.

    Top that with actual pollution (CO2 is hardly a pollutant) during production and “recycling” and you’ll see it’s not “green” at all, of course.

    If you want to be eco-friendly park your car and use bycicle / feet / local transportation (if available) or a mix on a daily basis.

  • dawyer

    I was give it a thought, Accrodding to theories of Prisoner’s Dilemma and put it to we living in earth, Saying all about “Eco-Friendly” in marketing Nowadays seems still is bullshit unless changing human’s nature. Why do we fancy ferrari lamborghini or maybe Tesla just like woman love jewellery but most of time just ignore to consider “Eco-Friendly”. Remember a old news saying a guy runs over a Lamborghini Aventador got punch? Whatif the car is Mirage? but I just saw most people ridiculous Insane Overreacted.Lamborghini still is a car only same as other with private property rights. So maybe Elon Musk develop Xspace have a reason because believe that most people’s nature can’t be change, At least people in the top of Human pyramid having hope?

  • Holmer_k

    These studies always assume getting power from the grid. With Tesla’s Power Packs, and Solar City’s solar panels, someone in the suburbs might never need to use the grid at all. So I’d say there’s a little leeway in this studies results. That said, congrats Mitsubishi.

  • Marty

    Of course a huge car powered by around 60 % coal and natural gas is no better than a small car powered by gasoline. The whole point is that you can, and should, produce the electricity in a CO neutral way.

    • Good luck with that, in the meantime you develop the energy production with CO2 neutrality on large scale the population will commute to work with unicorns.

      • Marty

        I don’t need luck.
        I live in a civilized country where only one percent of the electricity comes from fossil fuel.

  • Knotmyrealname

    No mention of solar powered supercharge stations though? Surely that has a positive effect?

    • Surely? Show calculation. Including production of solar panels

      • Knotmyrealname

        As is mentioned elsewhere, the study uses grid power for the conclusion. If you factor in solar power it has to affect the results.

        • Yep, but might be a very tiny amount. Or it can be even worse due to the CO2 spent to fabricate the panels.

          The “grid” means that the study (that we can not read, since there is no link at all) probably used the CO2-eq of the average production in US, counting also nuclear and solar etc.

          If you think having solar panels on the roof will be enough to feed a house and charge a Tesla in human time you may think of expanding the roof area, a lot.

  • KSegg

    We needed research for this? Even when the Prius was gaining more popularity and sales, we established that despite getting better MPG and producing less CO2, the process that is involved in building it is terrible for the environment.

    Battery production is a toxic process, and we’re only going to do much more of it.

  • TheBelltower

    As part of the report, not provided here…

    “It should also be noted the Model S’ emissions are based on it being located in the US Midwest, meaning its use emissions are tied to the CO2-intensive ways in which electricity is produced there. Professor Trancik cautioned that “if we consider the US average electricity mix, the CO2 emissions intensity of the Tesla Model S is significantly lower than that of the Mirage.””

    While the report does focus on the supply chain of electricity, they haven’t done the same for fuel. The report focuses on the Mirage tailpipe emissions, and doesn’t appear to have considered the amount of CO2 required to drill, transport crude, refine, or transport gasoline. Or all of the CO2 necessary for the infrastructure to sell the fuel. Or the various processes necessary for the twice-yearly oil and other fluid changes. For any accurate comparison to be made, all of this must be considered.

  • Stephen G

    This sounds like pure BS. Damn those Russians and their fake news.

  • By the way, I tracked down the study:
    and this nice tool

    So, CO2 wise, things are not that as bad as it may seem from reading this article. Also, the data behind the life cycle analysis are massive and, to be honest, I don’t have the tools to understand how good they are, in particular for the end of life o batteries. Let’s say they’re good.

    Teslas are still expensive as hell, even in the long run, while cars like VW eGolf and Nissan Leaf, even if less appealing, are addressing the problem much better.

    The study, and the graph, is also showing a great sensitivity on total life of the vehicle (and battery pack) and annual mileage: if you minimize the mileage per year (in the graph the minimum is 5000 miles/year) and maximize the lifespan, the majority of cars are within the the 2030 and 2040 emission target with an occupancy level of 1.7 people per car, even the ICE.

    So the solution is, as said, to produce less cars and to use the cars as less as possible.

  • Vassilis

    Yeah, no shit Sherlock.