Energies 2014, 7(3), 1467-1482; doi:10.3390/en7031467
Article

A Range-Based Vehicle Life Cycle Assessment Incorporating Variability in the Environmental Assessment of Different Vehicle Technologies and Fuels

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Received: 4 December 2013; in revised form: 25 February 2014 / Accepted: 3 March 2014 / Published: 11 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Hybrid Vehicles)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: How to compare the environmental performance of different vehicle technologies? Vehicles with lower tailpipe emissions are perceived as cleaner. However, does it make sense to look only to tailpipe emissions? Limiting the comparison only to these emissions denies the fact that there are emissions involved during the production of a fuel and this approach gives too much advantage to zero-tailpipe vehicles like battery electric vehicles (BEV) and fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). Would it be enough to combine fuel production and tailpipe emissions? Especially when comparing the environmental performance of alternative vehicle technologies, the emissions during production of the specific components and their appropriate end-of-life treatment processes should also be taken into account. Therefore, the complete life cycle of the vehicle should be included in order to avoid problem shifting from one life stage to another. In this article, a full life cycle assessment (LCA) of petrol, diesel, fuel cell electric (FCEV), compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), hybrid electric, battery electric (BEV), bio-diesel and bio-ethanol vehicles has been performed. The aim of the manuscript is to investigate the impact of the different vehicle technologies on the environment and to develop a range-based modeling system that enables a more robust interpretation of the LCA results for a group of vehicles. Results are shown for climate change, respiratory effects, acidification and mineral extraction damage of the different vehicle technologies. A broad range of results is obtained due to the variability within the car market. It is concluded that it is essential to take into account the influence of all the vehicle parameters on the LCA results.
Keywords: life cycle assessment; electric vehicles; green cars; sustainable mobility; environmental impact; uncertainty
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MDPI and ACS Style

Messagie, M.; Boureima, F.-S.; Coosemans, T.; Macharis, C.; Mierlo, J.V. A Range-Based Vehicle Life Cycle Assessment Incorporating Variability in the Environmental Assessment of Different Vehicle Technologies and Fuels. Energies 2014, 7, 1467-1482.

AMA Style

Messagie M, Boureima F-S, Coosemans T, Macharis C, Mierlo JV. A Range-Based Vehicle Life Cycle Assessment Incorporating Variability in the Environmental Assessment of Different Vehicle Technologies and Fuels. Energies. 2014; 7(3):1467-1482.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Messagie, Maarten; Boureima, Faycal-Siddikou; Coosemans, Thierry; Macharis, Cathy; Mierlo, Joeri V. 2014. "A Range-Based Vehicle Life Cycle Assessment Incorporating Variability in the Environmental Assessment of Different Vehicle Technologies and Fuels." Energies 7, no. 3: 1467-1482.


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