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Presentation RSE 17000054

Comparison by life cycle analysis of electric, petrol and diesel vehicles

Presentation

ENEA Expert panel for polluting emissions reduction - EXPAPER, 19, Gennaio-2017.

Request Document (2.84 MB, .pdf)

P. Girardi (RSE SpA)

EMOBILITY 2016 - Electric Mobility

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) offer the potential to substitute Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles (ICEVs) for passenger transport, bringing to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and tailpipe emissions. Ofcourse a Life Cycle perspective is needed when dealing with environmental benefits from changing energy carrier. n this framework the purpose of this study is to compare the life cycle environmental performances of several BEVs with homologous ICEVs.

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) offer the potential to substitute Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles (ICEVs) for passenger transport, bringing to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and tailpipe emissions. Of course a Life Cycle perspective is needed when dealing with environmental benefits from changing energy carrier. Even if some of the main gaps in knowledge that found reviews on LCA studies (Hawkins et al. 2012, Nordelöf et al. 2014) have been covered by recent studies (Del Duce et al. 2014, Girardi et al 2015) there are still large uncertainties due to several influencing factors (Egede et al 2015).

In this framework the purpose of this study is to compare the life cycle environmental performances of several BEVs with homologous ICEVs (gasoline and diesel), paying particular attention to four of the main influencing factors: the production of electricity that will charge the EV (i.e. considering an appropriate charging mix); the size of the vehicles, considering not only a vehicle market segment but a set of already existing electric passenger cars ranging from micro cars to family cars; the actual life (mileage) of the vehicles, according to size and energy carriers (Weymar & Finkbeiner 2016); the fuel consumption, i.e. given the limited driving range of BEVs, it is reasonable to expect that urban areas will be the natural environment for the spread of BEVs and for this reason, we considered fuel consumption and pollutant emissions typical of a urban driving cycle.

The selected car types are: Smart For Two, Chevrolet Spark, Fiat 500, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Kia Soul. Results confirm that in general, regardless of the car size, EVs perform better than the same models of ICEVs in almost all impact categories they are expected to: Climate change, Deployment of natural resources, Particulate Matter formation potential, and Photochemical oxidant formation potential. Noticeable exceptions are represented by gasoline Fiat 500 0.9 L which, due to its high efficiency performs. better than the homologous electric vehicle in terms of Air Acidification (and presents comparable performance in terms of Particulate Matter formation) and by Ford Focus Electric that due to its heavy weight in relation to size, shows higher scores in Particulate Matter formation. All EVs shows higher impact than ICEVs for Freshwater Eutrophication and Human Toxicity (regarding both cancer and non-cancer effect) due to car and battery manufacturing..

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