2. Literature Review
- Assessment of when, from the point of view of CO2 emissions, the replacement of an internal combustion vehicle with an electric one is justified;
- The assessment was carried out for five variants of electricity production and three scenarios of car use based on average annual mileage.
3. Material and Methods
3.1. Purpose and Scope of the Analysis
- Determination of the cumulative CO2 emissions in the production, use and disposal stages for two comparable cars:
- With a combustion engine;
- With electric drive; in this case, the analysis was performed for five variants of electricity sources to charge the vehicle
- Based on the results and analysis obtained in point 1, determination of when, from the point of view of cumulative CO2 emissions, the replacement of an old (functional) combustion vehicle with a new electric one is justified. The analysis was performed for three scenarios, based on average annual mileage of 3000, 7500 and 15,000 km.
3.2. Data Selection and Analysis
- Step 1 relates to the production of the vehicle, which includes the extraction of raw materials, the fabrication of parts and components and their assembly;
- Step 2 includes the production of fuel for a gasoline engine car and generation of electricity for an electric car;
- Step 3 concerns the use of the vehicle, including fuel consumption while driving;
- Step 4, relates to maintenance, which takes into account CO2 emissions in the production of spare parts and their disposal;
- Step 5 deals with disposal after use, i.e., the disposal of the vehicle and the recycling of the dismantled parts.
3.2.1. Vehicle Production
3.2.2. CO2 Emissions in Fuel Production and Electricity Generation
CO2 Emissions from Electricity Production
- W1—CO2 emission intensity during electricity generation from coal only: 1160 gCO2/kWh;
- W2—CO2 intensity during electricity generation from natural gas: 671 gCO2/kWh;
- W3—CO2 intensity during electricity generation from wind energy or PV panels between 20 and 25 gCO2/kWh (assumed): 23 gCO2/kWh;
- W4—CO2 intensity during electricity generation for the average European mix: 353 gCO2/kWh;
- W5—CO2 emission intensity during electricity generation for the average Polish mix: 790 gCO2/kWh. Data were determined based on the electricity benchmark from the National Center for Emissions Management in Poland and taking into account transmission losses .
3.2.3. Fuel Combustion in the Use Phase
3.2.4. Vehicle Maintenance
3.2.5. Management after Use
3.3. Calculation of Cumulative CO2 Emissions
- When a passenger car needs to be replaced or purchased, from a CO2 emissions point of view, it is always better to buy a new electric car. This will result in lower cumulative CO2 emissions.
- However, in the case of an efficient combustion car, its replacement with an electric car will result in greater cumulative CO2 emissions than the further use of the internal combustion car, although this depends on the average annual mileage and the source of electricity production, according to the data in Table 6.
- An internal combustion car produces cumulative CO2 emission for its entire life cycle (production, operation, maintenance and disposal) equal to 37,000 kg-CO2.
- The obtained results of the analysis show that for the adopted operating assumptions, in variants W2–W5, the use of an electric car produces lower cumulative CO2 emissions than the use of a combustion car. For the electric car, the values of cumulative emissions were obtained depending on 43,000, 31,000, 16,000, 23,000 and 34,000 kg-CO2 for variants W1 to W5, respectively.
- In the case of electric cars, the production and disposal of batteries have a very large impact on cumulative CO2 emissions. In this stage, producers of electric cars can improve their processes so that electric cars are more environmentally friendly by reducing CO2 emissions. Another factor that significantly affects the amount of CO2 emissions from electric cars is the type of electricity source (variants W1–W5).
- Consequently, the main conclusion from this part of the research for a compact “B” class car is that when it is necessary to purchase a new car, an electric car will be greener (from the point of view of CO2 emissions) for the W2–W4 variants.
- In the case of an old (but still good) combustion car, the simulations (Table 6) show that in many cases, the total CO2 emissions will be much lower with continued use of the old but operational combustion car instead of buying a new electric one;
- For the worst variant from the point of view of CO2 emissions (W1, production of electricity only from coal), further use of a combustion car will be associated with lower cumulative CO2 emissions than the purchase of a new electric car over the entire analyzed period of 15 years. In turn, for the most advantageous variant (W3, production of electricity from PV or wind) with an annual mileage of 3000 km, the purchase of a new electric car will result in higher cumulative CO2 emissions throughout the analyzed period, whereas for 7500 and 15,000 km of annual mileage, replacing the car with an electric one will “pay back” in terms of cumulative CO2 emissions after 8.5 and 4 years, respectively.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Lp.||Main Topic Discussed in the Publication||Ref. No.|
|a.||The impact of electric and internal combustion cars on the environment.||[12,13]|
|b.||CO2 emissions from the production of batteries for electric cars.||[14,18,19]|
|c.||Comparison of CO2 emissions after driving 1 km for electric and combustion cars (without taking into account CO2 emissions at the stage of production, inspection and disposal), among others, using the LCA method.||[20,21,22]|
|d.||Assessment of costs (in line with the costs resulting from ecological policy, e.g., related to fees for entering city centers) of using electric and combustion cars.||[23,24,25]|
|e.||Use of the LCA method to assess the impact of electric vehicles on the environment.||[15,16,17]|
|f.||Barriers affecting the development of electromobility (e.g., problems with the efficiency of electric car batteries and the availability of materials for the production of batteries).||[27,28]|
|g.||LCA calculations for the life cycle of cars.||[29,30,31]|
|Vehicle Type||Part of the Vehicle||Emission [kg-CO2]|
|Car frame with all elements except the above-mentioned|
|Car frame with all elements except the above-mentioned|
|Vehicle Type||Part||Replacement Frequency||Emission|
[pcs or l]
|Gasoline||Motor oil||15,000 km (or 1 year)||3.22||4|
|Shredding and sorting||24|
|Battery (electric car only)||1901|
|Scenario||15,000 km||7500 km||3000 km|
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