Environmental impact EV vs ICE: Renault’s results

July 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

renault-fluenceRenault Fluence EV vs. ICE: the results. Renault has published its lifecycle assessments of the EV (70kW), petrol (1.6) and diesel (1.5 dCi) versions of its small saloon over 150,000km, looking at six indicators:  greenhouse gas emissions, acidification (including emissions of nitrous oxides), ozone creation potential, eutrophication potential (production of nitrogenous/phosphate compounds, which can lead to excess algae in water), abiotic depletion (of ores such as steel, aluminium, copper as well as non-renewable energy use) and energy consumption.

In line with earlier studies, it found that the ICE cars had most environmental impact in their use phase, but the EV in its production – and especially in the production of its lithium-ion battery pack (including the extraction of its raw materials and their transportation), and also if non-renewable electricity was used to power it. However – and here’s the payback – this was more than overcome by EV’s total lifetime benefits, EVEN if electricity from the current grid system/mix of renewables was used.

The petrol models scored well for acidification and euthrophication (being lower-NOx), the diesels for lower global warming potential (lower CO2 emissions) and abiotic depletion (lower reliance on fossil fuels). Accessible summary and handy graphics at Green Car Congress. Full report here; critical review of the report here.

  • The UK government is putting up £500million (to be matched by industry for a total £1billion investment) for a 10-year Advanced Propulsion Centre programme. The Centre is to help develop the technologies and supply chains to make the next generation of low-carbon cars in the UK, reports The Engineer. It’s part of the new industrial strategy which also supports engineering apprenticeships and a financing framework for the supply chain, and the focus will be on developing inventions/concepts into commercial prospects.
  • Holland’s hoping to have a  comprehensive national EV charging infrastructure, with a public fast-charger within 30 miles of every inhabitant: more at Green Car Reports.
  • Something for the office car park? German firm EIGHT has unveiled a cool-looking single-car solar fast-charger. More here.

Concept of the Day: Bluebird DC50

July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

bluebird dc50Pembrokeshire-based Bluebird Automotive, which has been punting around some lightweight electric van concepts in recent years, is planning to make a limited-edition sports car. The DC50 (50 to be made) commemorates the 50th anniversary of Donald Campbell’s water and land-speed records (in Bluebird prototypes) and will be launched in September at the Sustainable MotoExpo, to be held at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. The scissor-doored car’s said to give up to 360bhp and “acceleration to match a Porsche”, plus a range of up to 200 miles. It’ll come in blue paint only. And Bluebird is also to show its GTL electric racer, designed for next year’s FIA Formula E series.

  • Discussion today at the LowCVP Annual Conference on measurement of lifetime carbon emissions from vehicles: whole lifecycle analysis ‘beyond tailpipe’. Recognising the need to measure impact taking into account emissions embedded in the production process, from the manufacturing of components, from power stations/energy sources, end-of-life disposal, recycling etc., the LowCVP is calling for a new test-cycle and well-to-wheel approach, and the development of standards for measurement. Building on the earlier study for the LowCVP by Ricardo, a new report by PE International – “Life Cycle CO2e Assessment of Low Carbon Cars 2020-2030” can be downloaded here.
  • Will connected cars benefit consumers? Yes, says the telematics industry (obv.), pointing out direct cost-saving equations in terms of fuel efficiency, shorter journey times and safety. Now they have to persuade buyers to pay extra for the tech… More here.
  • Further to the LowCVP story (above): total lifecycle carbon and greenhouse gas emissions of medium-duty electric trucks are lower than, and total ownership costs similar to, those of comparable diesel trucks. Benefits vary according to the type of usage/duty cycle/speed. Study from a team at Georgia Tech, published in Environmental Science and Technology; handy rundown at Green Car Congress.
  • Car buyers are more likely to go for a plug-in vehicle if they are offered access to renewable electricity, i.e. a complementary solar cell installation – a 23% increase in demand from would-be ICE purchasers. Study by Jonn Axsen (Simon Fraser University, Canada) and Kenneth Kurani (UC Davis) in Environmental Research Letters (ERL); they also found that EV/hybrid buyers were more motivated by saving money and local air pollution than wider concerns about climate change. More here.
  • How very Silicon Valley: Tesla Model S owners can remotely control some functions of their car via a Google Glass app. But of course. More here.
  • 25 BYD electric buses are going to Los Angeles Metro: more here. These use BYD’s lithium-ion phosphate batteries, said to give a 155-mile range.
  • BMW is showing its Concept Active Tourer (seen in New York earlier this year) again: the concept features a plug-in hybrid powertrain, though conventional ICE, no doubt, for the production 1-Series GT. More here.

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