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Modeling the CO2 emissions from battery electric vehicles given the power generation mixes of different countries


  • Doucette, Reed T.
  • McCulloch, Malcolm D.


With the number of vehicles on the world's roads expected to grow to 2.9 billion by 2050, steps must be taken to reduce the CO2 emissions from transport. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) can help achieve this. This study aimed to determine the CO2 emissions stemming from BEV operation in different countries and to compare those CO2 emissions to the emissions from similar vehicles based on internal combustion engines (ICEs). This study selected four ICE-based vehicles, and modeled BEVs based on the specifications of each of these vehicles. The modeled BEVs were run through a simulation to determine their energy consumption. Their energy consumption was combined with data on the CO2 intensity of the power generation mix in different countries to reveal the emissions resulting from BEV operation. The CO2 emissions from the BEVs were compared to the CO2 emissions for their ICE-based counterparts. Amongst the results, it was shown that for China and India, and other countries with a similarly high CO2 intensity, unless power generation becomes dramatically less CO2 intensive, BEVs will not be able to deliver a meaningful decrease in CO2 emissions and an increase in the penetration of BEVs could actually lead to higher CO2 emissions.

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  • Doucette, Reed T. & McCulloch, Malcolm D., 2011. "Modeling the CO2 emissions from battery electric vehicles given the power generation mixes of different countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 803-811, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:803-811

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Donateo, T. & Licci, F. & D’Elia, A. & Colangelo, G. & Laforgia, D. & Ciancarelli, F., 2015. "Evaluation of emissions of CO2 and air pollutants from electric vehicles in Italian cities," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 675-687.
    2. Berggren, Christian & Magnusson, Thomas, 2012. "Reducing automotive emissions—The potentials of combustion engine technologies and the power of policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 636-643.
    3. Doucette, Reed T. & McCulloch, Malcolm D., 2011. "Modeling the prospects of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(7), pages 2315-2323, July.
    4. repec:eee:rensus:v:78:y:2017:i:c:p:1390-1396 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Robinson, A.P. & Blythe, P.T. & Bell, M.C. & Hübner, Y. & Hill, G.A., 2013. "Analysis of electric vehicle driver recharging demand profiles and subsequent impacts on the carbon content of electric vehicle trips," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 337-348.
    6. Abdul-Manan, Amir F.N., 2015. "Uncertainty and differences in GHG emissions between electric and conventional gasoline vehicles with implications for transport policy making," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-7.
    7. Lior, Noam, 2012. "Sustainable energy development: The present (2011) situation and possible paths to the future," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 174-191.
    8. Ren, Guizhou & Ma, Guoqing & Cong, Ning, 2015. "Review of electrical energy storage system for vehicular applications," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 225-236.
    9. Marletto, Gerardo, 2014. "Car and the city: Socio-technical transition pathways to 2030," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 164-178.
    10. Harmsen, Robert & Graus, Wina, 2013. "How much CO2 emissions do we reduce by saving electricity? A focus on methods," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 803-812.
    11. Mendoza, Joan-Manuel F. & Sanyé-Mengual, Esther & Angrill, Sara & García-Lozano, Raúl & Feijoo, Gumersindo & Josa, Alejandro & Gabarrell, Xavier & Rieradevall, Joan, 2015. "Development of urban solar infrastructure to support low-carbon mobility," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 102-114.
    12. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:199-214 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Zhou, Guanghui & Ou, Xunmin & Zhang, Xiliang, 2013. "Development of electric vehicles use in China: A study from the perspective of life-cycle energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 875-884.
    14. repec:eee:tefoso:v:123:y:2017:i:c:p:17-23 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Hirte, Georg & Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2013. "The optimal subsidy on electric vehicles in German metropolitan areas: A spatial general equilibrium analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 515-528.
    16. Manjunath, Archana & Gross, George, 2017. "Towards a meaningful metric for the quantification of GHG emissions of electric vehicles (EVs)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 423-429.
    17. G. Marletto, 2013. "Car and the city: Socio-technical pathways to 2030," Working Paper CRENoS 201306, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    18. Soares M.C. Borba, Bruno & Szklo, Alexandre & Schaeffer, Roberto, 2012. "Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles as a way to maximize the integration of variable renewable energy in power systems: The case of wind generation in northeastern Brazil," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 469-481.
    19. Álvarez, Roberto & Zubelzu, Sergio & Díaz, Guzmán & López, Alberto, 2015. "Analysis of low carbon super credit policy efficiency in European Union greenhouse gas emissions," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 996-1010.
    20. Zhao, Jinxing, 2017. "Research and application of over-expansion cycle (Atkinson and Miller) engines – A review," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 185(P1), pages 300-319.
    21. Bi, Zicheng & Song, Lingjun & De Kleine, Robert & Mi, Chunting Chris & Keoleian, Gregory A., 2015. "Plug-in vs. wireless charging: Life cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions for an electric bus system," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 11-19.
    22. Jens Weinmann & J�r�me MASSIANI, 2012. "Electric cars as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: methods, results and policy implications in Germany," Working Papers 2012_21, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari", revised 2012.
    23. Poullikkas, Andreas, 2015. "Sustainable options for electric vehicle technologies," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1277-1287.

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