Authors: Kimmo Klemola; Matti Karvonen
Addresses: Cleanfi Oy, Yrjönkatu 21 C, 00100 Helsinki, Finland ' Cleanfi Oy, Yrjönkatu 21 C, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
Abstract: This paper evaluates the effects of road transport electrification and its regionally widely differing environmental impacts. Life-cycle assessment is carried out to quantify the environmental impacts of electric cars in all OECD countries with widely different electricity generation mixes. The environmental impacts of internal combustion engine vehicles and electric vehicles are compared. For cars, the life-cycle assessment considers the environmental impacts throughout the entire life cycle, from raw material extraction and acquisition, through energy and material production and manufacturing, to use and end-of-life treatment and final disposal. For fuels and electricity, the whole life cycle from cradle to gate is considered. The results show significant differences in the environmental impacts of battery electric vehicles between the countries. Policies to advocate the electrification of road transport differ from country to country, and the still very carbon-intensive electric mixes of most countries make the environmental gains of electric vehicles questionable. Combining technology forecasting and life-cycle assessment tools can provide a foundation for policy planning towards more sustainable automobile transportation.
Keywords: life-cycle assessment; LCA; fuel cell electric vehicles; FCEV; battery electric vehicles; internal combustion engines; IC engines; environmental impact; policy; electrification; OECD countries; electricity generation mix; technology forecasting; sustainable transport.
International Journal of Transitions and Innovation Systems, 2016 Vol.5 No.2, pp.158 - 178
Available online: 06 Feb 2017 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article