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On the Environmental Benignity of Electric Vehicles

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 7, Issue 3, September 2019, pp 416-431
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d6.0252
Amela Ajanovic , Reinhard Haas
Vienna University of Technology, Gusshausstr. 25-27/370-3, 1040 Vienna, Austria


Electric vehicles are considered as an important means to cope with increasing environmental problems in the transport sector. Many governments worldwide have set targets to increase the number of electric vehicles, although their environmental benignity is not ensured in the scope of the policies implemented. The core objective of this paper is to investigate the overall environmental impact of electric vehicles in different regions. The analysis is based on a life cycle assessment of electric vehicles including emissions from electricity generation, vehicle production and disposal, and vehicle use. The major conclusion is that the environmental benignity of electric vehicles is very sensitive on: electricity mix (a); number of km driven per year (b) and embedded emissions in car production (c), as well as battery recycling. Yet, as shown in this paper the highest sensitivity is with respect to the electricity mix. Hence, to make electric vehicles more environmentally friendly it is most important to increase the share of renewable energy sources in electricity generation.

Keywords: Mobility, Sustainability, Embedded emissions, Electricity generation, Life cycle assessment, Passenger cars.

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