Analysis of Electric Vehicle Utilization on Global CO2 Emission Levels

Paper #:
  • 1999-01-1146

  • 1999-03-01
  • 10.4271/1999-01-1146
Moore, S. and Ehsani, M., "Analysis of Electric Vehicle Utilization on Global CO2 Emission Levels," SAE Technical Paper 1999-01-1146, 1999, doi:10.4271/1999-01-1146.
The last quarter century has seen CO₂ emissions increase at a steadily increasing rate. In the U.S.A. alone from 1970 to 1992, the CO₂ emissions have increased from 5.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide to 6.6 bmt. The transportation industry contributes currently (1991 figures) 24.7% of the total emissions from the United States. Transportation utilization has grown faster, however, but more efficient vehicles allow for more travel without increasing the CO₂ proportionally. The advancements made in the 1980s have reduced emissions by 21 million tons of CO₂ per year on average.

Electric vehicles have been a proposed method of reducing the CO₂ emissions due to transportation. Electric vehicles produce no emissions while driving, making them ideal candidates for heavily polluted and concentrated areas such as urban locations. However, it is debatable if electric vehicles are feasible on the global scale of CO₂ reduction. This study compares the amount of emissions produced charging the electric vehicles with the amount of emissions produced by operating a conventional vehicle for equivalent usage. Conclusions are drawn about the advantages and the emissions reductions (if any) that are found by electric vehicle usage.

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