1998-11-30

Life Cycle Comparison of the Environmental Impacts of Conventional and Electric Vehicles Under European Conditions 982183

The main difference between conventional and electric vehicles is between the drive system and the energy storage. Especially the batteries play an important role within the life cycle assessment of electric vehicles. Based on our work within the „Rügen project” /IFEU 1997a/ we now have derived full energy and mass flow analyses for the production, supply, and recycling of four types of batteries: lead/acid, Ni/Cd, Na/NiCl2, and Na/S. The assessments were made in accordance with the present state of the discussion concerning the standardization of life cycle assessments (ISO/DIS 14040 - 14043) and considering the following impact categories: Resource demand, greenhouse effect, ozon depletion, acidification, eutrophication, human and eco toxicity, and photosmog. In a second step also the usage of the batteries has been assessed. The results show that there are significant differences between the batteries if the usage of them is very low. Also it is important to include the disposal or recycling processes of the batteries into the assessment. If the use of the batteries is very high, the results depend mainly on the energy sources used for power generation which varies in different countries.

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