In light of the increasing penetration of electric vehicles (EVs) in the global vehicle market, understanding the environmental impacts of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) that characterize the EVs is key to sustainable EV deployment. This study analyzes the cradle-to-gate total energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, SOx, NOx, PM10 emissions, and water consumption associated with current industrial production of lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) batteries, with the battery life cycle analysis (LCA) module in the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model, which was recently updated with primary data collected from large-scale commercial battery material producers and automotive LIB manufacturers. The results show that active cathode material, aluminum, and energy use for cell production are the major contributors to the energy and environmental impacts of NMC batteries. However, this study also notes that the impacts could change significantly, depending on where in the world the battery is produced, and where the materials are sourced. In an effort to harmonize existing LCAs of automotive LIBs and guide future research, this study also lays out differences in life cycle inventories (LCIs) for key battery materials among existing LIB LCA studies, and identifies knowledge gaps.
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