Electric vehicle: greener but expensive

A recent assessment shows that electric vehicle is more expensive but has lower environmental impact. Using a life cycle perspective, researchers found that electric vehicles have a higher total cost of ownership compared to conventional vehicles.

Papers entitled “Environmental and Financial Evaluation of Passenger Vehicle Technologies in Belgium” is published in Sustainability vol 5, 2013. The study look after on different vehicle technologies and fuels such petrol, diesel, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)) on their level of environmental impact and cost per kilometer.

Messagie and friends says that vehicles with alternative drive trains are regarded as a promising substitute for conventional cars, considering the growing concern about oil depletion and the environmental impact of our transportation system.

However, “clean” technologies will only be viable when they are cost-efficient. In this paper, the environmental impacts and the financial costs of different vehicle technologies are calculated for an average Belgian driver. Environmentally friendly vehicles are compared with conventional petrol and diesel vehicles.

Researcher assessed the effect on human health, resources and ecosystems that considered when calculating the environmental impact.

They also estimate the total cost of ownership (TCO) model covering the purchase price, registration and road taxes, insurance, fuel or electricity cost, maintenance, tires replacement, technical control, battery leasing and battery replacement.

The study find that the purchase cost of electric vehicles is highly linked to the size of the battery pack, and not to the size of the electric vehicle.

Read complete paper here

Messagie, M.; Lebeau, K.; Coosemans, T.; Macharis, C.; van Mierlo, J. Environmental and Financial Evaluation of Passenger Vehicle Technologies in Belgium.Sustainability 2013, 5, 5020-5033.