Tuesday, August 2, 2016

ICCT: Electric Vehicles: Literature Review of Technology Costs and Carbon Emissions

The International Council on Clean Transportation has released a report that focuses on collecting, analyzing, and aggregating the research literature on the underlying technology costs and carbon emissions of electric vehicles.

The European new vehicle CO2 regulation (with a mandatory target value of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2021 for passenger cars) is currently in the process of being extended to 2025. In this context, one of the key questions is at what point a significant uptake of the electric vehicle market is to be expected. In order to help inform this debate about how electric vehicle technology could fit in a lower-carbon 2020–2030 new vehicle fleet in Europe, this paper focuses on collecting, analyzing, and aggregating the available research literature on the underlying technology costs and carbon emissions. In terms of technologies, this paper concentrates on the three electric propulsion systems: battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (HFCEVs).

The collected cost data is used to estimate the technology cost for automotive lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and fuel cells. The cost of battery packs for BEVs declined to an estimated €250 per kWh for industry leaders in 2015. Further cost reductions down to as low as €130–€180 per kWh are anticipated in the 2020–25 time frame. The costs of fuel cell systems are also expected to decrease considerably, but cost estimates are highly uncertain.

Furthermore, the application of fuel cells and batteries in HFCEVs, BEVs, and PHEVs is approximated using a bottom-up cost approach. Overall, the different power train costs largely depend on battery and fuel cell costs. This paper concludes that the costs of all power trains will decrease significantly between 2015 and 2030 (Figure S 1). As shown, power trains for PHEVs will achieve about a 50% cost reduction, compared with approximate cost reductions of 60% for BEVs and 70% for HFCEVs. Costs for hydrogen and electricity chargers are estimated separately.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy demand for electric and conventional vehicles are presented on a well-to-wheel (WTW) basis, capturing all direct and indirect emissions of fuel and electricity production and vehicle operation. The results are based on former analyses, and are updated and refined with real-world fuel consumption levels. Real-world fuel consumption is commonly about 20%–40% higher than official typeapproval measurements. Finally, WTW estimates for electric and conventional vehicles are put in the context of the 2021 CO2 standard for European passenger vehicles.

It is found that carbon emissions of BEVs using European grid-mix electricity are about half of average European vehicle emissions, whereas HFCEVs and PHEVs have a lower emissions reduction potential. In the 2020 context, electric vehicle WTW emissions are expected to continue offering greater carbon benefits due to more efficient power trains and increasing low-carbon electric power. A lower-carbon grid and higher power train efficiency by 2020 could cut average electric vehicle emissions by one-third again.

However, the expected cost reductions and potential CO2 emission cuts will not be achieved without targeted policy intervention. More stringent CO2 standards, and fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for electric vehicles, can help the electric vehicle market to grow and costs to fall. Also, efforts need to be combined with activities to decarbonize the grid, or emission reductions will not be as great as they could be. Although the analysis is focused on the European context, similar dynamics with electric vehicle technology, policy, and market development are prevalent across major markets in North America and Asia.

(Source: http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/174729.aspx, http://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/ICCT_LitRvw_EV-tech-costs_201607.pdf)

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