Publication Details

Title : Regional Emissions Analysis of Light-Duty Battery Electric Vehicles
Publication Date : November 09, 2021
Publication Journal :
Authors : A. Burnham, Z. Lu, M. Wang, A. Elgowainy
Abstract : Light-duty battery electric vehicles (BEVs) can reduce both greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria air pollutant (CAPs) emissions, when compared to gasoline vehicles. However, research has found that while today’s BEVs typically reduce GHGs, they can increase certain CAPs, though with significant regional variability based on the electric grid mix. In addition, the environmental performance of electric and gasoline vehicles is not static, as key factors driving emissions have undergone significant changes recently and are expected to continue to evolve. In this study, we perform a cradle-to-grave life cycle analysis using state-level generation mix and vehicle operation emission data. We generated state-level emission factors using a projection from 2020 to 2050 for three light-duty vehicle types. We found that BEVs currently provide GHG benefits in nearly every state, with the median state’s benefit being between approximately 50% to 60% lower than gasoline counterparts. However, gasoline vehicles currently have lower total NOx, urban NOx, total PM2.5, and urban PM2.5 in 33%; 15%; 70%; and 10% of states, respectively. BEV emissions will decrease in 2050 due to a cleaner grid, but the relative benefits when compared to gasoline vehicles do not change significantly, as gasoline vehicles are also improving over this time.