There has been a lot of noise about whether EVs are better than conventional vehicles from a lifecycle perspective (ie the battery manufacture and end of life). Now and again, someone makes a rather egregious claim misrepresenting an article such as:
Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles Journal of Industrial Ecology (September 2012), pp. no-no,doi:10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00532.x by Troy R. Hawkins, Bhawna Singh, Guillaume Majeau-Bettez, Anders H. Strømeman
Basically this article (contrary to the magazine piece) states that, in carbon terms, EVs are indeed better (unless you generate all your electricity by coal). BUT not by as much as you might think.
An update has subequently been posted which further clarifies the difference, in Europe at least:
We find that EVs powered by the European electricity mix reduce GWP by 26% to 30% relative to gasoline (originally 20% to 24%) and 17% to 21% relative to diesel (originally 10% to 14%).
Corrigendum to: Hawkins, T. R., B. Singh, G. Majeau-Bettez, and A. H. Strømman. 2012. Comparative environmental life cycle assessment of conventional and electric vehicles. Journal of Industrial Ecology DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00532.x. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 17(1), 158–160.