Report Concludes that 10% Deployment of Existing Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicles Could Deliver 3.5% Cut in Irish Road Transport CO2 Emissions
Replacement of 10% of cars, vans and buses in Ireland with currently available models of hybrid and battery electric vehicles could reduce national CO2 emissions by 0.35 million tonnes annually, according to a study on the Costs and Benefits of the use of Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Battery Electric Vehicles in Ireland, conducted by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI). Total CO2 emissions from the road transport sector (excluding air, sea and freight transport) in Ireland in 2006 amounted to approximately 10 million tonnes.
The report found that efficiency improvements for adopting currently available hybrid and battery electric vehicles to replace conventional vehicles are greatest for vans, cars and buses in urban service. Specifically, the report found that:
On a per vehicle basis, the largest CO2 emission reductions can be achieved by switching full size / midi buses to battery electric, plug-in-hybrid or hybrid vehicles. However, at the current time, there are few large size / midi electric buses in operation and no plug-in-hybrid buses available for sale in Ireland. Therefore, switching full size/midi buses to hybrids is the most appropriate substitute to make (if costs are disregarded) at the present time.
If 10% of either the car, van or bus fleet was going to be switched, then the most beneficial in terms of CO2 emission reductions is to switch gasoline cars to battery electric cars. The second most beneficial switch is from petrol cars to diesel hybrid cars. However, these would both have cost implications.
The emissions benefit is predicated on an average power generation scenario, which includes nuclear. Remove nuclear power from the calculations, and the battery electric vehicle has a higher CO2 footprint than a hybrid or a conventional diesel car, according to work at the University of Liege (Belgium) cited in the report.
The most cost-effective options are to switch conventional gasoline vans to either gasoline or diesel hybrids. These switches lead to cost savings and CO2 savings and hence lead to a high benefit to cost ratio.
This research is of particular importance within the context of our ability to understand how we can use currently available technologies to bring about improvements in the CO2 intensity of the transport sector. Ireland has targets to meet in terms of reduction of CO2 and with the transport sector currently accounting for 35% of energy related emissions it is imperative that we prioritize measures to bring about meaningful reductions in the short to medium term.—Brendan Halligan, Chairman, SEI
According to recommendations made in the reports, fleet vehicles in cities or urban areas should be targeted first under any plans to bring about a move to the use of hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles. Urban road transport is by its nature more fuel intensive and organizations with large numbers of vehicles in urban use, such as municipal vehicles, police and public transport fleets, would benefit most from efficiencies associated with the integration of Hybrid or Battery Electric Vehicles into their fleets.
Policies which should be examined as part of a wider policy review to ensure that obstacles to the introduction of such vehicles in Ireland are minimized, include a review of the taxation system in the aftermath of the introduction of the new VRT regulations as well as the existing regulatory framework for the use of non conventional road vehicles. Other supporting measures for stimulating uptake which have been suggested in the reports include subsidies for vehicle purchase or conversion, subsidies for refuelling infrastructure, common procurement and public private partnerships.
SEI published the study’s findings in the form of two reports, Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicles: Technology, Costs and Benefits and Hybrid and Battery Electric Vehicles: Measures to Stimulate Uptake. SEI has also published a buyers guide and cost of ownership calculator in order to assist vehicle owners in their purchasing decisions.
In 2006 the transport sector in Ireland was the only sector in the economy not to experience either reductions in energy related C02 emissions or low levels of growth compared with the previous year. The transport sector recorded a 7.1% growth in emissions in 2006 compared to 2005. Transport now accounts for 35% of energy related emissions.
The study undertaken by SEI included a review of the primary potential candidate owner groupings and uses for hybrid electric vehicles, plug in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles. A review of the electricity supply implications for the widespread use of battery electric vehicles was also undertaken while SEI also examined worldwide experiences in the use of hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric fleets.
Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) is the statutory authority charged with promoting and assisting the development of sustainable energy in the country. SEI is funded by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan, with programs part-financed by the European Union.