Electric Vehicles Total Cost of Ownership and Public Health Issues in Brazil

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Puebla (2016)


electric vehicle total cost of ownership, public health



Several countries present policy gaps to reduce factors that induce climate change and deterioration of air quality in urban areas. As an illustration, in Brazil, there are very few national or local instruments of public policy, to stimulate the diffusion of pure electric vehicles (EVs), free of combustion emissions.


Nevertheless, the economic impacts, derived from the emissions of internal combustion vehicular particulate matter emissions are significant. Only in São Paulo, Brazil´s largest city, it accounts four thousand deaths per year [1]. In 2007, its health annual cost reached US $ 500 million [2]. Due to congestion, vehicle emissions have become the main source of pollution in Brazilian big cities, summing up an annual economic impact derived from health issues caused by air pollution of US $ 1.7 billion [3].

The cost of using EVs in Brazil is significantly lower than similar combustion vehicles; however, its acquisition cost is very high, resulting in a higher total cost of ownership (TCO), even for a long period as five years of use. The analysis of this paper considers a case of EV´s TCO [4] and from its results and also from data on the emissions’ costs to public health, presents a reflection about the absence of policies in the country. It concludes that the final costs justify policies to foster EVs adoption.

The study was developed through analyses of two measured costs that: (1) EV TCO of three small corporate fleets; (2) the cost to public health due to pollutant emissions from light vehicles in the region of São Paulo.

The analysis compares the TCO of the electric vehicles (EVs) and similar internal combustion. The scenarios (with and without taxes) consider periods of five years and vary according to: use intensity; costs of acquisition and use; residual value. Acquisition costs were broken down according to the chain of applicable taxes. Scheduled maintenance costs, consumption (electricity and fuel) and annual tax were considered. For EVs, it includes battery autonomy and lifecycles.

The data was obtained from daily measurements of the use of EVs, since December, 2013. Information about each VE and company has been calculated, such as distance traveled (km), energy consumption (kWh), amount spent with energy consumed (US$), expense with fuel consumption (US$).

In turn, the public health cost analysis is based on research developed by the LPAE (Experimental Air Pollution Laboratory - Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo), which calculated the emissions of air pollutants from vehicular sources and estimated its effects in public health, in metropolitan areas [2]. The study applies the methodology DALY (Disability Adjusted Life Years), jointly developed by the World Health Organization and World Bank at Harvard University [5], and uses a model that calculates the number of years of life lost due to some factor, in this case the air pollution, according to the life expectancy of the population.

Comparative graphical results for TCO computations are provided, among them: i) TCO evolution per kilometers of use, with or without residual value; ii) TCO decomposition (acquisition costs taken with no taxes, acquisition taken with taxes, annual use taxes, battery replacement, residual value, scheduled maintenance).

It was found from the comparative analysis of TCO, the economic infeasibility of using EVs in corporate use in Brazil, in the time horizon considered, even though the electricity costs (propulsion) and maintenance are significantly lower. Besides, regulated emissions saving at Great São Paulo metropolitan area have been calculated, considering EVs sales for 50% tax reduction scenario. Health impacts have been surveyd.

The TCOs´ comparison shows that even the EVs presenting lower use cost, it still does not pay its acquisition given the existing high tax burden.

On the other hand, the cost that emission from light vehicles to involve combustion on public health is significant. Activities that negatively impact public goods, such as air pollution, generate associated social costs, taken, in economic terms, as negative externalities. An alternative public policy that could help reduce such costs in Brazil would be the adoption of EVs tax relief. It would help foster its widespread adoption [6] [7].

Policy instruments like these, combined with others, such as improvement of public transport and recharge infrastructure can contribute to reducing some of the main causes that lead to treatments caused by particular matter inhalation. It can be said that high air pollution levels results from unsustainable policies, mainly as in the transport sector.

1. References

[1] Carta Maior, 2012. Pobres são os mais atingidos pela poluição urbana, diz médico da USP. Disponível em: http://cartamaior.com.br/?/Editoria/Politica/Pobres-sao-os-mais-atingido.... Acesso em 13/02/2015.

[2] SALDIVA. P. (2007) Emissões de poluentes atmosféricos por fontes móveis e estimativa dos efeitos em saúde em seis regiões metropolitanas brasileiras. LPAE – Laboratório de Poluição Atmosférica Experimental da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo. Versão 3, 2007.

[3] Miraglia, S. G El Khouri, and Gouveia, N. (2014) "Custos da poluição atmosférica nas regiões metropolitanas brasileiras." Ciência & Saúde Coletiva 19 (10); pp 4141-4147.

[4] Modelo de Cômputo de TCOs para Veículos Elétricos e à Combustão (2014). Projeto de Mobilidade Elétrica da CPFL Energia. Campinas, 2014.

[5] Murray Ch.J.L. and Lopez A.D., eds. (1996), The Global Burden of Disease: Volume 1. World Health Organization, Harvard School of Public Health and the World Bank, Geneva.

[6] NEMET, G. Demand-pull energy technology energy policies, diffusion and improvements in California Wind Power, in Foxon, T. J., Kohler, J. and Ougton, C. (eds) Innovation for a Low Carbon Economy. Economic, Institutional and Management Approaches, Edwards Elgar, Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, USA. 2009.

[7] ÅHMAN, M. Government policy and the development of electric vehicles in Japan, in Energy Policy, 34 (4). 2006, March, pp. 433-443.

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