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Modeling the CO₂ emissions from battery electric vehicles given the power generation mixes of different countries

Doucette, Reed T., McCulloch, Malcolm D.
Energy policy 2011 v.39 no.2 pp. 803-811
automobiles, batteries, carbon dioxide, combustion, emissions, energy, energy use and consumption, models, power generation, roads, China, India
With the number of vehicles on the world’s roads expected to grow to 2.9 billion by 2050, steps must be taken to reduce the CO₂ emissions from transport. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) can help achieve this. This study aimed to determine the CO₂ emissions stemming from BEV operation in different countries and to compare those CO₂ emissions to the emissions from similar vehicles based on internal combustion engines (ICEs). This study selected four ICE-based vehicles, and modeled BEVs based on the specifications of each of these vehicles. The modeled BEVs were run through a simulation to determine their energy consumption. Their energy consumption was combined with data on the CO₂ intensity of the power generation mix in different countries to reveal the emissions resulting from BEV operation. The CO₂ emissions from the BEVs were compared to the CO₂ emissions for their ICE-based counterparts. Amongst the results, it was shown that for China and India, and other countries with a similarly high CO₂ intensity, unless power generation becomes dramatically less CO₂ intensive, BEVs will not be able to deliver a meaningful decrease in CO₂ emissions and an increase in the penetration of BEVs could actually lead to higher CO₂ emissions.