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Conclusions

It could be feared that electrifying our vehicle fleet may simply shift CO2 emissions from the source point (the vehicle) to the generation point (the power plant). Fortunately, the results of the IEA Mobility Model show that widespread vehicle electrification would increase electricity demand by 9% at most and at the same time result in around 1.6 billion tonnes less of CO2 emissions (or a total of 2.8 billion tonnes less with the decarbonisation of the electricity sector).

The intensity of CO2 emissions from additional electricity production to meet PHEV and EV demand depends on the generation mix. To reduce emissions-intensive electricity production, it would be prudent to charge the vehicles during off-peak hours, such as during the night, and avoid the two peak times of early morning and early evening. Policies for charging management should therefore encourage night-time charging, but also make it possible to charge at home, at work, and at retail locations.

The emissions-reduction potential of PHEVs and EVs will vary based on the mix of energy sources used in the generation of the electricity they draw upon; the implication is that regions with low CO2-emitting power production should be the first to introduce PHEVs and EVs. However, because of the inherent improvements in vehicle efficiency and the fact that PHEVs and EVs will become cleaner as power generation becomes cleaner, regions of intensive CO2 emissions should not neglect the emissions-reduction potential of these vehicles.

Our modelling suggests that while the very large numbers of EVs and PHEVs in the BLUE Map scenario will cut CO2 emissions substantially by 2050, they will increase global electricity demand by a relatively modest amount, in the range of 7%-9%. Low-range PHEVs could provide a substantial amount of driving on electricity (perhaps around 50% of kilometres travelled), and while higherrange PHEVs will contribute some additional electric driving (bringing the share up to 80%), the effect on electricity demand and CO2 emissions is likely to be modest. Although PHEVs will retain the option for long-range driving on liquid fuels, they may ultimately compete with pure EVs, since both provide significant reductions in liquid fuel use.

References

IEA (International Energy Agency) (2009), Transport, Energy and CO2: Moving Toward Sustainability, OECD/IEA, Paris. IEA (2010), Energy Technology Perspectives 2010, OECD/IEA, Paris.

Weiller, C. (2009), "Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Impacts on Hourly Electricity Demand in the United States", Energy Policy, June 2010.

Juho Lipponen and Matthias Finkenrath, Carbon Capture and Storage Unit

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