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Frontiers of Engineering Management

Front. Eng    2019, Vol. 6 Issue (4) : 538-550
Techno-economic analysis of the adoption of electric vehicles
Donald KENNEDY1(), Simon P. PHILBIN2
1. Freerange Buddy Publications, Edmonton T5M 0Z1, Canada
2. Nathu Puri Institute for Engineering and Enterprise, London South Bank University, London SE1 0AA, UK
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Significant advances in battery technology are creating a viable marketspace for battery powered passenger vehicles. Climate change and concerns over reliable supplies of hydrocarbons are aiding in the focus on electric vehicles. Consumers can be influenced by marketing and emotion resulting in behaviors that may not be in line with their stated objectives. Although sales of electric vehicles are accelerating, it may not be clear that purchasing an electric vehicle is advantageous from an economic or environmental perspective. A techno- economic analysis of electric vehicles comparing them against hybrids, gasoline and diesel vehicles is presented. The results show that the complexity of electrical power supply, infrastructure requirements and full life cycle concerns show that electric vehicles have a place in the future but that ongoing improvements will be required for them to be clearly the best choice for a given situation.

Keywords BEV      battery powered electric vehicle      environmental impact of electric vehicles      techno-economic analysis      gasoline versus electric powered cars      diesel versus electric cars      consumer behaviour     
Corresponding Author(s): Donald KENNEDY   
Just Accepted Date: 24 June 2019   Online First Date: 26 July 2019    Issue Date: 05 December 2019
 Cite this article:   
Donald KENNEDY,Simon P. PHILBIN. Techno-economic analysis of the adoption of electric vehicles[J]. Front. Eng, 2019, 6(4): 538-550.
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Fig.1  TEA framework deployed in this research study.
Fig.2  Commercial case for recycling metallic materials from lithium-ion batteries (source of data: Gaines, 2014). Component A= LiCoO2, Component B= LiNi1/3Co1/3Mn1/3O2, Component C= LiMnO2, Component D= LiFePO4. Price of cathode values for Components A and B are based on average points from a data range.
Fig.3  Market shares of lithium-based commercial products (source of data: Grosjean et al., 2012)..
Fig.4  Chemical composition of a typical lithium-ion secondary rechargeable battery (source of data: Xu et al., 2008).
Vehicle (2018 model) Energy Source Weight (kg) EPA rated fuel consumption (mpg) Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (USD)
Chev Bolt Electric 1420* 110 37,495
Nissan Leaf Electric 1266* 100 30,000
Ford Focus Electric 1354* 107 29,120
Hyundai Ioniq Electric 1120* 136 29,500
Kia Soul Electric 1176* 108 33,950
VW eGolf Electric 1286* 118 30,500
Tesla Model S Electric 1487* 104 85,650
Toyota Prius Hybrid 1070* 46 20,630
Honda Accord Hybrid 1470* 47 25,100
Ford Fusion Hybrid 1587* 42 25,390
Toyota Highlander Hybrid 1954* 29 36,670
Chev Malibu Hybrid 1403* 44 28,800
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid 1964* 32 40,000
Cadillac CT6 Hybrid 1880* 25 75,100
Toyota Tundra Gasoline 2400 17 48,300
Cadillac Escalade Gasoline 2535 17 74,000
Toyota Yaris Gasoline 1081 42 17,460
Nissan Altima Gasoline 1457 26 24,125
Dodge Journey Gasoline 1732 19 24,140
Ford Fiesta Gasoline 1171 30 14,200
Honda Civic Gasoline 1250 36 18,840
Chrysler Pacifica Gasoline 1964 23 27,000
Toyota Highlander Gasoline 1879 24 31,000
KIA Nitro Gasoline 1409 50 23,340
BMW X5 Gasoline 2190 24 59,500
Ram 2500 Gasoline 2866 21 32,545
Chevy Cruze Diesel 1464 35 26,800
Chevy Equinox Diesel 1636 32 31,700
Jaguar XE Diesel 1510 36 37,225
BMW X5 Diesel 2215 29 43,100
Ram 2500 Diesel 3030 23 61,000
Tab.1  Data on representative vehicles as sourced from vendors’ websites (2018)
Fig.5  Retail cost of vehicle by fuel type.
Fig.6  Fuel economy by weight and fuel type.
Fig.7  Annual cost normalized for 1300 kg vehicle.
Fig.8  Worldwide growth in publicly accessible chargers (slow and fast), source of data: International Energy Agency (2018).
Fig.9  Worldwide growth in electric car new registrations in thousands (source of data: International Energy Agency, 2018).
Area of consideration Proposed research and development areas
Environmental considerations • Life-cycle analysis (LCA) for electric vehicles, which examines the impact of electrical generation via alternative means, such as from burning of different types of fossil fuels (namely coal and natural gas), bio-organic waste as well as from renewable sources
• Cost-benefit analysis on vehicle scrappage schemes and the impact on consumer behaviors and electric vehicle sales
• Improved techniques for recycling different materials from lithium-ion based batteries utilized in electric vehicles to improve the sustainable production of battery materials
Technological advances • Further development of technologies to enable a reduction of the costs associated with large-scale production of lithium-ion batteries
• Further development of technologies to reduce the weight of batteries (for both lithium-ion and other types) for electric vehicles
• Understanding lithium-ion battery technology maturity using the S curve model in order to identify the current level of maturity and future trajectories for the technology
• Understanding the technological and economic risks arising from large scale lithium-ion battery production across the automotive sector and the resultant impact on levels of the commercial sources of lithium
Consumer influence on economic and environmental factors • Further benchmarking analysis of automobiles to understand the impact of different driving situations (i.e., different driving styles and weather conditions) on realized fuel efficiencies
Lifecycle cost comparisons • Economic analysis on lifecycle costs for electric vehicles to take account of the impact of certain contributing factors, such as regional variations in taxes, electricity prices, and fuel prices. Discounted cash-flow techniques to be employed where possible
Electric vehicle infrastructure- Battery chargers • Development of improved battery charger technologies that enable faster charging times
• Economic modeling to examine alternative business models to support large scale roll-outs of electrical vehicle charging infrastructure. Economic analysis to examine potential options for joint public/private sector investment strategies to be deployed to address the significant capital needs of such initiatives
Registrations of electric vehicles • International benchmarking studies on the adoption rates for electric vehicles to examine the impact of local factors as well as cultural influences on the transition rates to electric vehicles in different countries and regions
Tab.2  Proposed research and development areas for the adoption of electric vehicles
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