A Model for Water Consumption in Vehicle Use within Urban Regions 2011-01-1152
The recent development of electric vehicles creates a new area of interest regarding their potential impacts on natural resource and energy networks. Water consumption is of particular interest, as water scarcity becomes a growing problem in many regions of the world. Water usage can be traced to the production of gasoline, as well as electricity, for regular operation of these vehicles. This paper focuses on the development of a framework to analyze the amount of water consumed in the operation of both conventional and electric vehicles. Using the Systems Modeling Language, a model was developed based on the water consumed directly in energy generation and processing as well as water consumed in obtaining and processing a vehicle's fuels. This model and framework will use the above water consumption breakdown to examine conventional and electric vehicles in metropolitan Atlanta to assess their impacts on that and other urban networks. Initial results show that electric vehicles can potentially consume significantly more water during normal driving usage than that of their gasoline engine counterparts, although such water consumption for either vehicle can vary widely across differing urban mobility networks due to differing dependencies on fossil or renewable fuels, differences in where electricity is sourced, as well as in regional transportation characteristics.