Abstract: Vehicles with alternative drive trains are regarded as a promising substitute for conventional cars, considering the growing concern about oil depletion and the environmental impact of our transportation system. However, “clean” technologies will only be viable when they are cost-efficient. In this paper, the environmental impacts and the financial costs of different vehicle technologies are calculated for an average Belgian driver. Environmentally friendly vehicles are compared with conventional petrol and diesel vehicles. The assessments are done from a life cycle perspective. The effect on human health, resources and ecosystems is considered when calculating the environmental impact. The total cost of ownership (TCO) model includes the purchase price, registration and road taxes, insurance, fuel or electricity cost, maintenance, tires replacement, technical control, battery leasing and battery replacement. In the presented analysis different vehicle technologies and fuels are compared (petrol, diesel, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)) on their level of environmental impact and cost per kilometer. The analysis shows a lower environmental impact for electric vehicles. However, electric vehicles have a higher total cost of ownership compared to conventional vehicles, even though the fuel operating costs are significantly lower. The purchase cost of electric vehicles is highly linked to the size of the battery pack, and not to the size of the electric vehicle. This explains the relative high cost for the electric city cars and the comparable cost for the medium and premium cars.
Keywords: clean vehicles; cost-efficiency; environmental impact; total cost of ownership; life cycle thinking
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Messagie, M.; Lebeau, K.; Coosemans, T.; Macharis, C.; van Mierlo, J. Environmental and Financial Evaluation of Passenger Vehicle Technologies in Belgium. Sustainability 2013, 5, 5020-5033.
Messagie M, Lebeau K, Coosemans T, Macharis C, van Mierlo J. Environmental and Financial Evaluation of Passenger Vehicle Technologies in Belgium. Sustainability. 2013; 5(12):5020-5033.
Messagie, Maarten; Lebeau, Kenneth; Coosemans, Thierry; Macharis, Cathy; van Mierlo, Joeri. 2013. "Environmental and Financial Evaluation of Passenger Vehicle Technologies in Belgium." Sustainability 5, no. 12: 5020-5033.