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2035 Joint Impact Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Reducing Pathways for EU Road Transport
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Safety and Transport, Vehicles and Automation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2661-1064
Lund University, Sweden.
Fraunhofer ISI, Germany.
VTI, Sweden; Lund University, Sweden.
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2024 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study assesses the potential for decarbonizing EU road transport through several pathways, focusing on the feasibility of achieving impact by 2035. Through comprehensive literature review, we compare the distance-levelized cost, lifecycle GHG emissions, and scalability of combustion engine vehicles (three fuels), battery-electric vehicles (BEVs, three charging methods), and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. We consider projected transport growth and the current age composition and use of vehicles in Europe, segmented into four regions. Biofuels, hydrogen, and e-fuels are not found to have potential to significantly contribute to further GHG emissions before 2035 due to scalability and technological limitations. BEVs emerge as the only viable strategy for achieving zero tailpipe emissions at scale, with effective lifecycle GHG reductions constrained by the rate of decarbonization of steel production, battery production and EU electricity production. By 2035, embodied battery emissions are expected to be the dominant source of lifecycle emissions from electric vehicles. The environmental benefits of a BEV transition are primarily limited by the rate at which the vehicle stock can be electrified, with new electric vehicle sales contributing primarily to decarbonization in Northen and Western Europe. Combining the expected buildout of static charging infrastructure with a proposed pan-European Electric Road System (ERS) network is found to greatly accelerate the transition to electrified road transport, including in otherwise late-to-decarbonize segments, by removing cost, weight, and supply barriers to retrofitting older combustion engine cars with new electric powertrains. Other effects of an ERS network are found to be substantially reduced embodied emissions from BEV production, resulting from reduced battery capacity per vehicle, and reduced levelized freight costs. However, possibly insurmountable political and bureaucratic barriers must be overcome ERS to play any meaningful part in decarbonization of road transport within the coming decade. If the barriers can be overcome, the economic and ecological rewards are substantial. Despite identifying pathways for substantial emissions reductions, the study does not identify any technical pathway through which the EU road transport sector will not greatly exceed its fair share of global GHG emissions. In addition, our review of strategies to achieve modal shift and road transport demand reductions also fails to find indications that interventions in these areas will have GHG reduction effects of desired magnitude within the required timeframe, unless costs of vehicle ownership and use are raised substantially. Further policy research is urgently needed to find repeatable and socially just interventions through which total transport work, the size of the vehicle stock and embodied GHG emissions per vehicle can be reduced substantially across the entire EU before 2035.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2024. , p. 44
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-72456ISBN: 978-91-89896-69-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-72456DiVA, id: diva2:1846969
Funder
Swedish Transport Administration
Note

The authors would especially like to thank the Swedish Traffic Administration for allowing the EVolution Road project to fund this independent study.

Available from: 2024-03-26 Created: 2024-03-26 Last updated: 2024-03-27Bibliographically approved

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Rogstadius, Jakob

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