Technology and Engineering
  • ISSN: 2333-2581
  • Modern Environmental Science and Engineering

Electric Cars vs Diesel and Gasoline: A Comparative LCA Ranging from Micro-Car to Family Car


Pierpaolo Girardi, and Paola Cristina Brambilla

RSE - Ricerca Sistema Energetico, Via Rubattino 54, 20134 Milano, Italy


Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to compare the environmental performances of electric vehicles and homologous gasoline and diesel vehicles, taking into account the overall life cycle potential impacts of the analyzed vehicles, in a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) perspective. To this aim, a wide range of vehicles were taken into account: Smart Fortwo, Chevrolet Spark, Fiat 500, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Kia Soul. Considering different vehicle models - from the small city car to the family car — highlighted that advantages and disadvantages of the electric vehicle do not depend on the category to which the vehicle belongs.

  The analysis shows that electric vehicles perform better than traditional ones, in terms of greenhouse gases emissions, depletion of non-renewable resources and emissions of atmospheric pollutants affecting urban areas. Nonetheless, electric vehicles prove to be non-competitive for Life Cycle Impact categories like water eutrophication and human toxicity, for which the environmental impacts due to the battery life cycle play a decisive role.


Key words: LCA, electric vehicle, internal combustion engine vehicle, LCIA regionalization, geographical distribution of pollutants




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