How green is your car? New Green NCAP ‘lifetime CO2’ award has the answer

Green NCAP has launched a new Life Cycle Assessment award for cars with the smallest whole life climate impact

The EU funded Green NCAP organisation has launched a new award spotlighting the whole life CO2 impact of the most environmentally-friendly new cars, designed to help consumers concerned about climate change to make better-informed choices.

The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) award comes with an eye-catching stamp, to be displayed in promotional material, declaring that the most carbon-efficient vehicles are a ‘greener choice’. The organisation says the new scheme will encourage drivers to consider a car’s whole life climate impact, instead of focusing on its powertrain or WLTP efficiency figures. So far, only four cars have made the grade – the Dacia Spring, Ora Funky Cat, Renault Megane E-Tech and Tesla Model 3.

To earn the LCA award – and Green NCAP’s stamp of approval – cars must achieve five stars in its Life Cycle Assessments that have been carried out since 2022, which means they’ve been assessed to produce total life cycle greenhouse gas emissions equal to or less than 120g CO2-eq/km. For readers not fully familiar with the terminology, CO2-eq or ‘CO2 equivalent’ means emissions of any greenhouse gas expressed in terms of an equivalent volume of CO2.

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The Life Cycle Assessment itself analyses a car’s CO2 impact from cradle to grave, so includes its original manufacture, a lifetime of usage, destruction and end-of-life treatment. However eco-friendly a car may be while being driven, Green NCAP points out that lower emissions in the manufacturing phase can significantly reduce a vehicle’s negative impact on the climate. Unsurprisingly, it also says that past analyses have shown that lighter vehicles with smaller batteries have a clear advantage when it comes to limiting damage to the environment.

“Since 2019, Green NCAP’s star ratings have provided consumers with an easy way to compare the on-road environmental performance of new cars under identical driving conditions,” says the organisation’s technical manager Aleksander Damyanov. “We believe that this award helps consumers to make an informed and greener choice about the true sustainability of their cars – it will be a true differentiator for the wide choice of electric cars currently on offer on the forecourt. Moreover, it is hoped that the award will act as a catalyst for the industry to innovate and accelerate its development of more sustainable cars.”

Is the new car you’re considering a ‘greener choice’?

The first four cars to notch up a ‘Greener Choice’ LCA award all feature total life cycle greenhouse gas emissions equal to or less than 120 CO2-eq/km:

Lifetime CO2 award winners

Lifetime CO2-eq/km

Dacia Spring


ORA Funky Cat


Renault Megane E-Tech


Tesla Model 3


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