Environmental impacts and impact on the electricity market of a large scale introduction of electric cars in Europe, Critical review of literature

ETC/ACC Technical Paper 2009/4

Vehicles with electric propulsion are considered as an attractive option on the pathway towards low-emission vehicles that could enable the transport sector to reduce sectoral greenhouse gas emissions by a significant degree. Due to major progress in battery technology, vehicles with electric operation mode are expected to enter the market within the next few years. Electric vehicles are characterised by the highest engine efficiency of existing propulsion systems and zero tailpipe emissions. At the same time it has to be kept in mind that well-to-wheel emissions of electric vehicles are strongly dependent on the carbon-intensity of power generation.

The purpose of this report is a broad review of literature on electric cars and their environmental impacts. Aspects covered are the energy storage systems, the different vehicle concepts under development, a market overview of EVs, a discussion of the business models for the introduction and operation of electric cars, the EV potential with regard to use pattern and driving behaviour, market penetration scenarios, and the impact on CO2 emissions considering average emission factors, the interaction with the electricity market and the EU legislation on transport and energy.