What is Carbon Intensity? Aren't EVs Green?
First - let's be crystal clear, EVs are definitely a green choice. As a Tesla driver and a member of the Tesla community, you've taken a really important and meaningful step toward a better, more sustainable future.
For the same reason that many Tesla drivers choose to install solar on their homes or purchase renewable power from their local electric utility, TezLab provides visibility into carbon emissions associated with charging activity - so that we as Tesla drivers can have a more full understanding that can possibly give us the option to make some even greener choices.
In most cases, CO₂ is emitted through the production of electricity. This is called 'carbon intensity' and is measured in gCO₂eq/kWh (which is a fancy way of saying the equivalent grams of CO₂ per kWh of electricity). The carbon intensity of electricity varies widely around the world depending on a region's power sources (i.e. coal, vs hydro for example.) Carbon intensity can also vary within a jurisdiction based on the time of day, day of the week, or even the weather, as more carbon intensive sources of power come online during peak demand periods.
We've partnered with our friends at Tomorrow, the makers of ElectricityMap in order to bring carbon intensity data into TezLab in select locations. When you charge your vehicle at a location within a data coverage area, TezLab will gather the carbon intensity of the local power grid to estimate the carbon intensity across your charge. We then show you the average intensity of the electricity for that charge, the total carbon emitted, how much fuel you'd need to burn in order to release that same amount of carbon, and some data about where that carbon intensity fits in relative to what has been observed in your area and globally.
In some locations, we have access to live data on a 15-minute interval. In others, this information is available but may be delayed up to 48 hours. In others still, live data may not be available, so a general estimate is provided using historical averages. In some locations, unfortunately, no data - not even historical values - are available and the Carbon section will not show on those charges.