Friday, October 5, 2012

Update on electric cars -- more lifecycle analysis

(Click to go to the original)

In a blog piece a few days ago I explained the life-cycle analysis technique as it applies to vehicles using my own small "fleet" of four aging vehicles and my possibly bad habit of maintaining them myself as an example.

I pointed out that any production-distribution-maintenance system that can potentially provide a longer useful life for a vehicle may reduce overall environmental impact/mile considerably.

Properly skeptical students, and my wife Aimee, may be correct in suspecting that this is just an excuse for owning an ancient Land Rover.

The lifecycle methodology is, however, serious business. If production impacts are significant, then there's a clear dividend to longer lifecycles. It's the combination of production with maintenance that provides the benefit.

An interesting example of this thinking is this Norwegian study on the lifecycle impacts of electric cars, released through the Journal of Industrial Ecology in the last few days. Among other methodologies, the study compares 100,000 km with 200,000 km lifecycles for the same vehicle.

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