The complete CO2, time and cost overview of our journey from Copenhagen to Malaga
This blog post is a small study of what CO2, time, and cost we have used on our road trip in a fully electric car compared to what we would have used if flying. With this post, we hope to shed some light on the difference between the different ways of transportation. Our survey is based on a roundtrip journey. This blog post is not written directly in a collaboration with BMW Danmark, but the car has been provided by them – since we are proud ambassadors.
Before jumping into our findings we want to emphasize that this is NOT a big scientific academic study. You have to be aware that our method is not perfect, does have uncertainties, and does not include all factors (weather, weight, production of the car and airplane, overall passenger number on flights, the difference in airplane efficiency, etc.). We are using online calculation services that use very general and average numbers, and these calculation services also have many limitations and uncertainties. Furthermore, we want to place special importance on the fact that CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas that is emitted producing electricity to the car and by aircraft and this study only takes CO2 into account. We, therefore, ask you to perceive this post, not as fact, but more as an idea of the difference there is between the cost, time, and CO2 emissions of the airplane and electric cars when getting from Copenhagen to Malaga and back.
CO2 amount – Transportation
|0.24 tons of CO2||1.37 tons of CO2|
First of all, this is our calculation of the total amount of CO2 emitted by two people in a full-electric car and an aircraft on the total distance between Copenhagen and Malaga and back again. As you can see below, two people in an airplane have a total emission of 1.37 tons of CO2 on a return flight.
We have used the tool calculator.carbonfootprint.com to calculate the carbon footprint of the airfare.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any online tools to calculate the carbon footprint of a full-electric car.
The way we’ve calculated our carbon footprint on our transportation is to calculate how many kWh we’ve charged and multiplied it with the average carbon intensity (gCo?eq/kWh). We’ve used the app https://app.electricitymap.org/https://app.electricitymap.org/ to make this calculation.
kWh charged: 711 kWh
Avg. Carbon intensity: 165 gCo?eq/kWh = 0.12 tons of CO2
= 0.24 tons of CO2 for a full electric car both ways.
CO2 amount – Hotel
|0.41 tons of CO2||0 tons of CO2|
During our road trip from Copenhagen to Malaga, we stopped at 4 different places and slept 6 days in total at hotels. We have therefore chosen to include 12 nights at hotels (roundtrip) into this calculation of the CO2 emission from hotel stays. We are using the number of the accepted standard of carbon footprint to calculate this, but in reality, this number will vary a lot. 12 nights at a hotel during a road trip has a total emission of 373,2 kg CO2. If you fly you won’t have any hotel stays as you arrive on the same day. You could argue, that you were going to sleep at home or at the destination in accommodations anyway before and after taking a flight. And you could also argue that when you are sleeping at hotels during the road trip, your energy use and emissions at home are significantly lower – but let’s just keep it simple and include the hotel stays during the road trip to the calculation for the sake of it.
31.1kg x 12 nights = 373,2 kg CO2 = 0.41 tons of CO2
Time from Copenhage – Malaga
|60 hours (+ 15 hours charging)||8 hours|
This is the calculation of the travel time from Copenhagen to Malaga and back again. In a fully electric car, it would take around 60 hours + 15 hours of charging, and in aircraft, the travel time would be around 8 hours. This calculation of the traveling time is correct since we’ve used all the stops while charging for coffee and toilet breaks. But it does not include the check-in, boarding, or waiting time at the airport.
|Charging: 462.5€ (both ways)||240€ (120€ per person)|
|Hotel: 1.740 € (12 nights)|
Meals: 936€ (3 meals x6.8€ x 12 days x2 persons)
|Total: 462.5€ (3.138,5€)||Total: 240€|
This is our calculation of the price of our journey on a road trip and on flights. We have included 12 hotel stays and 3 meals * 12 days during the road trip. You could again argue that you are also eating when flying and eating on the days before and after your flight, but we are not including that in this calculation. The price of the flight tickets is based on the cheapest alternative: economy without any extras like checked-in luggage or seat reservation. We have not included the price of renting a car in this calculation. We have calculated that our average costs for a meal are 6.8€ during road trips. This is a very subjective number and will vary according to lifestyle.
Summery and conclusion
|C02: 0.65 tons of CO2|
Time: 75 hours
|C02: 1.37 tons CO2|
Time: 8 hours
The conclusion of this little fun study is, that going on a road trip in a fully electric car from Copenhagen to Malaga and back pollutes less than half as much CO2 as if you were to fly the same distance. And this study is only based on 2 people traveling in the electric car. If we would have been 5 people in the car our footprint would have been the same – but the carbon footprint from taking an airplane would be 15 times worse than an electric car – Which is actually shocking!
However, it does take more time when and it does cost a lot more if you are going on long trips.
Below we’ve listed a few examples of shorter road trips, which are proof that it’s not only a lot more eco-friendly to take the full electric car on shorter road trips but it’s also cheaper!
Our thoughts on this
By taking the car and going on a road trip far away you have several pros like flexibility and exploring things along the way. Instead of transportation just being the transportation – you are already on your holiday exploring tons of things on the way to your destination! You are able to stay wherever you want along the route and for as long as you like. Personally, we love Paris, San Sebastian, and Madrid, so we decided to spend a few days in each of these cities.
Arguably, the most valuable resource for people in this century is time. We believe everybody who reads this article is thinking: “hmm.. a few nights in Paris, drinking wine in Montmartre and then a few days eating tapas and watching surfers in San Sebastian sounds pretty damn good”. But no one has the time for it right? Because you “only” have about 5 weeks of holiday every year(if you are lucky enough to be Scandinavian) and you don’t feel like spending them in a car.
Well, this has everything to do with your mindset. Because if you don’t see the road trip as transportation but as part of your holiday, you won’t see time on the road as wasted time. Suddenly you are exploring how the landscape, the architecture, the people, and the cuisines change every second of your journey.
A one really big concern we find in this study is the price difference! We believe that there are a lot of people out there that truly want to make a change and choose the most sustainable way of traveling. But it is difficult to make a change when it is SO expensive to make a better choice – especially when you are young! We are there with you! The travel industry has to change in order for us to be able to afford the most sustainable way to travel these distances.
The reason we have decided to change our mission statement and only fly a maximum of once a year is that we want to make a statement towards the airline and fuel giants. By lowering the demand for flights we want to push them to invest more in alternative fuel sources so that we (hopefully soon) can fly, save time and money but do so in a more sustainable manner.
Travel cost, time and CO2 emission on weekend getaways from Copenhagen to Berlin or Paris
We understand it might be difficult for some of you to relate to a road trip to southern Spain – which is why we have made two examples below of weekend getaways from Copenhagen to Berlin and Copenhagen to Paris. Once again we have focused on time, cost, and CO2 emissions when traveling by a full electric car and airplane. The calculations are based on the same calculation services used above. We have not included hotel stays or meals in any of the calculations, we have not included car rent and we have chosen the cheapest flight tickets without extras like checked-in luggage.
COPENHAGEN – PARIS
|C02: 0.12 tons of CO2|
Time: 16 hours (+4 hours charging)
|C02: 0.76 tons of CO2|
Time: 4 hours
COPENHAGEN – BERLIN
|C02: 0.09 tons of CO2|
Time: 8 hours (+2.5 hours charging)
|C02: 0.49 tons CO2|
Time: 2 hours