A life cycle environmental impact comparison between traditional, hybrid, and electric vehicles in the european context

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

Abstract

Global warming (GW) and urban pollution focused a great interest on hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as cleaner alternatives to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). The environmental impact related to the use of both ICEV and HEV mainly depends on the fossil fuel used by the thermal engines, while, in the case of the BEV, depends on the energy sources employed to produce electricity. Moreover, the production phase of each vehicle may also have a relevant environmental impact, due to the manufacturing processes and the materials employed. Starting from these considerations, the authors carried out a fair comparison of the environmental impact generated by three different vehicles characterized by different pro-pulsion technology, i.e., an ICEV, an HEV, and a BEV, following the life cycle analysis methodology, i.e., taking into account five different environmental impact categories generated during all phases of the entire life of the vehicles, from raw material collection and parts production, to vehicle assembly and on‐road use, finishing hence with the disposal phase. An extensive scenario analysis was also performed considering different electricity mixes and vehicle lifetime mileages. The results of this study confirmed the importance of the life cycle approach for the correct determination of the real impact related to the use of passenger cars and showed that the GW impact of a BEV during its entire life amounts to roughly 60% of an equivalent ICEV, while acidifying emissions and par-ticulate matter were doubled. The HEV confirmed an excellent alternative to ICEV, showing good compromise between GW impact (85% with respect to the ICEV), terrestrial acidification, and par-ticulate formation (similar to the ICEV). In regard to the mineral source deployment, a serious concern derives from the lithium‐ion battery production for BEV. The results of the scenario analysis highlight how the environmental impact of a BEV may be altered by the lifetime mileage of the vehicle, and how the carbon footprint of the electricity used may nullify the ecological advantage of the BEV.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-32
Numero di pagine32
RivistaSustainability
Volume13
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2100.2105???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2300.2301???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2100.2102???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2300.2308???

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