Ecological and economical constraints in the mobility sector: Analysis, comparison, and economic evaluation of emissions from electric vehicles and combustion engine vehicles

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Kyoto (2014)


Electric vehicles have the potential to lower emissions and overcome constraints of fossil energy resources in the mobility sector. By this, electric vehicles can contribute to a transition towards sustainability. In order to quantify this advantage – given that it exists at all – a comprehensive analysis of emissions over the whole lifetime of vehicles is needed. This work intends to provide a detailed and comparative analysis of emissions in the production process, as well as the examination of emissions in different energy mixes for energy supply in the operation of the vehicles.
The work follows a three-step approach: The first step analyzes and quantifies the emissions produced throughout the production process of electric vehicles and conventional vehicles. The second step analyzes the emissions in the operation of electric vehicles and conventional vehicles. Herein, especially emissions in the production process and utilization of energy during vehicle operation are considered (production and combustion of gasoline compared to the production and use of electricity from different energy sources and electricity mixes). The third step assesses the emissions in a monetary way to demonstrate a potential cost advantage by saving emissions.
The work answers the research question, if and under which conditions additional emissions in the production process of electric vehicles (mainly caused by the production of electric drive train and battery) can be compensated by lower amounts of emissions during the operation of electric vehicles. The amount of emissions saved is quantified and economically evaluated. First results point out, that only under specific conditions of electricity production the environmental advantage of electric vehicles can be realized. A transition in the mobility sector towards sustainability can only be realized, if renewable energies (e.g. for the operation of electric vehicles) can successfully be integrated into the sector.

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