Life cycle analysis of internal combustion engine, electric and fuel cell vehicles for China
Efficient and clean vehicles are highly demanded in China due to the increasing severe energy and environmental issues. In this study, based on the current (2009) and predicted (2020) situations of China, ICEVs (internal combustion engine vehicles), EVs (electric vehicles) and FCVs (fuel cell vehicles) are assessed through a life cycle analysis in terms of energy consumption, carbon emission, PM2.5 and well-to-wheel efficiency. The results show that FCVs using hydrogen from NG (natural gas) reforming (no electrolysis of water) are suitable for the short-term energy conservation and emission reduction in China, because they are less dependent on the Chinese electricity mix dominated by coal-fired energy. EVs and FCVs using water-electrolyzed hydrogen powered by the Chinese electricity grids may cause serious energy and environmental issues, and the requirements of the electricity mix before the commercialization of these vehicles are estimated. For the vehicle price, ICEV s and EVs (with subsidies) are less expensive than FCVs in 2009, but it remains debated for 2020 with the development of technology and change of policy. This analysis is of significant importance in directing the energy, environment and transportation policy for sustainable development in China.