UK greenhouse gas conversion factors to include electric vehicles for the first time

UK greenhouse gas conversion factors to include electric vehicles for the first time
04 August 2017

UK greenhouse gas conversion factors to include electric vehicles for the first time 

For the first time the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) conversion factors have been updated to take into account plug in electric vehicles (xEV) - reflecting the increased deployment of xEV technology in commercial fleets.

The GHG conversion factors are updated yearly by environmental consultancy Ricardo Energy & Environment on behalf of the UK Government. The updates for 2017 reflect a number of market and technological developments and aim to ensure that businesses can accurately calculate and report their GHG emissions and energy use.

This year’s updates take into account the expected market growth of xEV in the UK, within which sales have increased by 508% between 2014 and 2016. While current deployment of xEV technology is relatively low, a number of major commercial fleet operators have made deployment part of their long term sustainability strategies. The government is supporting the commercialisation of xEVs through a number of incentives and support schemes.

The updated factors allow businesses to breakdown mileage and emissions against different types of electric cars and vans, including plug in hybrids. The factors also allow users to model and predict emission reduction potential for future fleet deployment.

Nick Asselin-Miller, Ricardo sustainable transport expert, said: “As electric vehicle technology becomes more commercially viable, it is an increasingly attractive option for public and private sector fleets. Electric vehicles offer a range of potential financial and operational benefits for businesses, but getting to grips with this new technology will require a fundamental change in thinking. The new emissions factors are a valuable tool to help businesses to assess the options available to them in developing practical and cost-effective deployment plans.”

Other important updates for 2017 include the addition of factors to determine the emissions associated with overnight stays in hotels, and changes to the methodology for calculating well-to-tank emissions for a number of transport fuels. 

Christine St John Cox, Ricardo sustainability and carbon manager, said: “2017 saw a number of firsts for the UK’s energy supply. We had the first day with no coal being burnt and the first day where over 50 percent of our energy was generated by renewable sources. The updates reflect the UK’s increasingly diverse energy mix and the opportunities it provides businesses in their sustainable development strategies.”

A more detailed review of these changes and what they mean for business’s GHG reporting can be found on the Ricardo Sustainable Business blog.

Ricardo supports companies throughout Europe to comply with environmental reporting targets and develop effective sustainability strategies. Its transport teams are working with a number of commercial fleet operators in Europe to review and implement their sustainable transport options.  

A full copy of the updates can be accessed at