As a result of growing concerns about decreasing fossil fuel supplies and rising carbon dioxide emissions, sustainable mobility has become more significant in recent years. In a 2009 assessment by the International Energy Agency, worldwide energy consumption is expected to grow by 53% by 2030.
The transportation sector accounts for about three-quarters of the predicted increase in oil demand. In addition, the use of fossil fuels for transportation is the second greatest source of carbon dioxide emissions globally. These concerns are prompting governments and automotive manufacturers worldwide to invest heavily in developing vehicles powered by alternative propulsion systems, such as hybrid and electric engines.
Various alternative powertrain technologies, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), range extender electric vehicles (RE-EV), and battery electric vehicles (BEV), have been developed and tested in various locations throughout the world.
However, they are being designed worldwide, their development has not yet reached a critical mass because of the vicious circle of technological complexity, limited quantities, and high prices. So, governments worldwide are playing an increasingly important role in promoting increased adoption of electric mobility via interventions like demand and supply incentives, research and development expenditure, and the construction of power generation and charging infrastructure.
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For example, the United States continues to give direct subsidies to consumers who purchase electric cars in cash and tax breaks, among other things. In addition, the private industry provides direct grants for the research and manufacture of innovative technologies, such as the development and manufacture of next-generation batteries.
Japan has set a target of 2 million electric cars by 2025 and has set aside $250 million for research, development, and new technology components necessary for such vehicles to achieve this goal. E-vehicles are being paved for by environmental concerns, significant incentives from governments, innovation, market acceptability, and increased commitment from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).
EVs are set to be a more common sight on the world’s roads in the 2020s
Existing policies in various countries around the world indicate that the EV stock will grow steadily over the next decade: according to the Stated Policies Scenario, the total EV stock (excluding two- and three-wheelers) will reach 145 million by 2030, accounting for 7% of the global road vehicle fleet. Moreover, if governments speed up their efforts to achieve climate targets, the market for electric vehicles might grow dramatically.
- According to the Sustainable Development Scenario, the global electric vehicle fleet (excluding two- and three-wheelers) should reach 230 million cars by 2030, representing a share of 12%.
- The growing fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) will continue to reduce well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions, with total benefit relative to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles increasing over time, depending on the rate at which electricity generation decarbonized and the rate at which EVs are adopted.
- By 2030, the worldwide EV fleet will help to cut GHG emissions by more than one-third compared to an equivalent ICE vehicle fleet, according to the Stated Policies Scenario; in the Sustainable Development Scenario, the reduction jumps to two-thirds when compared to a comparable ICE vehicle fleet.
- Even with the recent success of electric vehicle deployment, achieving a compatible trajectory with climate objectives remains a significant barrier. It will need more ambition and effort on the part of all nations. However, the advancements in battery technology and mass production will continue to bring the cost of electric vehicles down.
- However, achieving climate targets in 2030 would require more than the widespread use of light-duty electric cars. Policies to encourage the adoption of zero-emission cars in the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle categories and the development of associated fast-charging infrastructure will also need to be put in place by government authorities.
- In the near term, nations may continue to establish, enforce, and strengthen measures like CO2 and fuel efficiency regulations and mandates for electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce emissions.
- Increasing the price of gasoline and diesel at rates proportional to their environmental and human health consequences may generate cash for the government while also reducing their negative impacts and speeding the transition to electric transportation.
- In addition, markets may be more aligned with the climate advantages of electric cars by imposing differentiated taxes on vehicles and fuels based on their environmental performance.
- The decarbonization of electricity generation, the integration of electric vehicles into power systems, the construction of charging infrastructure, and the advancement of sustainable battery manufacturing and recycling are necessary for electric vehicles to realize their full potential as carbon emission reducers.
Company roadmaps for EV production
The sales of electric cars are expected to reach 11 million in 2025, before increasing to 30 million in 2030. However, despite Tesla being the dominating player in the electric car category, OEMs are diverting their attention to electric versions of their existing conventional vehicles to compete.
Volkswagen intends to electrify its entire model range by 2030. There will be at least one electric version of each of the Group’s approximately 300 cars available by that time. In addition, it intends to invest more than 50 billion in battery cells over the next five years.
Following the announcement of intentions to accelerate its transition, General Motors (GM) focuses more on developing next-generation battery-electric designs. The business intends to increase the number of resources dedicated to the electric vehicle initiative in the next two years.
Within its worldwide portfolio of 40 electrified cars, Ford (F) expects to produce 16 completely electric vehicles by 2022, with 40 electrified vehicles in total. As part of the company’s “Environmental Challenge 2050,” Toyota (TM) aspires to reach annual electrified vehicle sales of 5.5 million vehicles by 2030.
Globally, EVs saved around 50 Mt CO2-eq of GHG emissions in 2020. With a rising number of EVs on the road, the percentage net decrease in well-to-wheel Greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions is expected to increase throughout the decade as electrical production is predicted to reduce carbon intensity quicker than liquid, gaseous fuel mixtures. The Well-to-Wheel (WTW) GHG emissions from the EV stock are expected for each country/region based on EV electricity consumption and average power generating carbon intensity. The stated policies scenario assumes a 20% reduction and the sustainable development scenario a 55% reduction in the moderate carbon intensity of generation by 2030. If the estimated EV fleet were powered by ICE cars, the averted GHG emissions would be higher. The global EV fleet cuts GHG emissions by over one-third and two-thirds in the Sustainable Development Scenario.
The worldwide EV fleet is predicted to emit 230 Mt CO2-eq in 2030, and however, if fuelled by ICE cars, emissions would be 350 Mt CO2-eq, saving 120 Mt CO2-eq. The WTW GHG emissions from the EV fleet in 2030 are estimated to be lower than in the Stated Policies Scenario (210 Mt CO2-eq), reflecting the growth in EVs being offset by less carbon-intensive power production. The Sustainable Development Scenario saves 410 t CO2-eq.
According to a recent study, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) reduce lifecycle GHG emissions by 20–30% compared to traditional ICE cars. In nations like the European Union, where the power generation mix is rapidly decarbonizing, BEV lifetime emissions are roughly 45–55% lower. Moreover, the research reveals that decarbonizing a vehicle’s fuel use should be a priority to minimize lifetime emissions.
Electric Vehicles: The Automobiles of the Future By Otto Bischof and Ted Tanaka
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Sustainable Transportation: An Introduction to E-Mobility
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