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Life cycle assessment of electric and combustion vehicles in India Gopinathan, Narayan


This study assesses the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of electric and conventional vehicles in the context of India, a country which still relies on a coal-fired power grid. It assesses the emissions of electric and conventional vehicles under three different scenarios for the development of the electricity grid between now and 2030. These three scenarios are the Current Trends Scenario (CTS), which is a business-as-usual scenario, the Current Policies Scenario (CPS), under which extant renewable energy policies are fully implemented, and a High Renewable Energy Scenario (HRES), under which additional renewable energy is added to the grid. In the HRES, this work incorporates the benefits of utilizing the battery for grid energy storage after the life of the vehicle is over, because high penetrations of renewable energy will also require grid-level energy storage. This study finds that, even with a carbon-intensive power grid, electrification of vehicles confers a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In a business-as-usual CTS scenario for the power grid’s evolution, an average electric vehicle (EV) has life cycle GHG emissions 23% below the equivalent combustion vehicle’s (ICEVs) in 2030. This benefit greatly increases in a HRES scenario when the batteries are utilized for energy storage after the life in a battery. In this case, an average EV has life cycle GHG emissions 60% below equivalent combustion vehicles. In addition, this study conducted uncertainty analysis to assess the impact of uncertainty in the fleet averages for various input variables. It used a Monte Carlo analysis to assess the life cycle GHG emissions of conventional and combustion vehicles under a range of values for seven to eight key variables (depending on the scenario). It found that under the HRES, all simulation runs resulted in lower emissions with the EV, and in the CPS, almost all simulation runs resulted in lower emissions with the EV. In the CTS, 95% of simulation runs indicated that EVs have lower life cycle emissions.

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