Tesla Motors, Inc.

At a Glance


Industrial Goods and Manufacturing

Project Type

Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy




Palo Alto, CA


Alexandra Manick analyzed the embedded energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Tesla Motors vehicles as compared to standard cars.


Tesla Motors enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow Alexandra Manick to calculate the environmental impact of manufacturing Tesla vehicles, as compared to standard cars, in terms of embedded energy and GHG emissions. While current studies have estimated the embedded emissions of automobile manufacturing using industry averages for critical inputs, Tesla wanted to increase the specificity of such an analysis for its own use. The goal was to incorporate its materials data and process energies, as well as add transparency and flexibility to existing vehicle LCA models to analyze current Tesla vehicles, future products and process and supply-chain decisions at Gigafactory 1.


Alexandra built the embedded emissions estimation tool on Argonne National Laboratory’s life cycle model for automobile manufacturing, “GREET 2, 2015.” In addition to using Tesla-specific materials and process inputs, the Tesla tool modifies GREET by incorporating default, quick-plotting results for all of Tesla’s current models, a customization feature for key assumptions to ensure applicability of the analysis going forward and a breakdown of manufacturing processes that will occur at Gigafactory 1. Incorporating Tesla-specific materials and process assumptions to Argonne National Laboratory’s life cycle model of vehicle production in a flexible and transparent manner allows Tesla to calculate the environmental impact of future product and process modifications.

Potential Impact

The tool can be used to analyze both the magnitude of environmental impact and sensitivity of key manufacturing choices at Gigafactory 1, including, but not limited to, the effect of renewable energy and recycling. The analysis too, has the potential to benefit consumers by allowing customers to calculate the GHG savings over the life time of a vehicle, as compared to a standard car.

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