Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-24-0250

Environmental and Health Impact of Electric and Hydrogen Light Vehicles: The Case of an Italian Small City 2019-24-0250

As the emission regulations get more and more stringent, the electric and fuel cell electric vehicles have attracted growing attention by automakers, governments, and consumers. In fact, electric and fuel cell vehicles coupled with low-carbon electricity sources offer the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and exposure to tailpipe emissions from personal transportation. In particular, Pedal Assisted Bicycles (PAB) popularity is rising in urban areas due to their low energy consumption and environmental impact. In fact, they are zero emission vehicles with low noise emissions, as well. These positive characteristics could be even improved by coupling a PAB with a fuel cell based power generation system, thus increasing the vehicle autonomy without influencing their emissions and consumption performances. In this paper, four types of vehicles are compared from an environmental and accessibility point of view: conventional car, bus, electric PAB, and hydrogen fuel cell PAB. For such vehicles, the respective utilization stages are considered, i.e. without considering the manufacturing process. The analysis has been carried out comparing different vehicles performance along different routes of an Italian middle-size city, Viterbo, which represents a very good pilot case as its Municipality is adopting many solutions through the European Union planning tool called Sustainable Energy Action Plan. According to this analysis, electric and fuel cell PAB exhibit interesting advantages over the other vehicles. However, the global economic efficiency of electric or fuel cell apparatus depends substantially on the exploited source of electrical energy.


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