CO2 mitigation potential of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles larger than expected
The actual contribution of plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles (PHEV and BEV) to greenhouse gas mitigation depends on their real-world usage. Often BEV are seen as superior as they drive only electrically and do not have any direct emissions during driving. However, empirical evidence on which vehicle electrifies more mileage with a given battery capacity is lacking. Here, we present the first systematic overview of empirical findings on actual PHEV and BEV usage for the US and Germany. Contrary to common belief, PHEV with about 60 km of real-world range currently electrify as many annual vehicles kilometres as BEV with a much smaller battery. Accordingly, PHEV recharged from renewable electricity can highly contribute to green house gas mitigation in car transport. Including the higher CO2eq emissions during the production phase of BEV compared to PHEV, PHEV show today higher CO2eq savings then BEVs compared to conventional vehicles. However, for significant CO2eq improvements of PHEV and particularly of BEVs the decarbonisation of the electricity system should go on.
Funke, Simon Á.