Task 19, LCA of EVs, defines goals and topics

January 23, 2013 03:11 PM
LCA encompasses the entire vehicle value chain.
© Image courtesy of IAV.


Electric vehicles (EVs) provide many benefits over a traditional internal combustion vehicle such as powertrain efficiency, maintenance requirements, and zero tailpipe emissions.

Members of Task 19, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of EVs, are looking at the entire EV value chain from production through to end-of-life recycling in order to measure the total environmental costs and benefits. 

Realistic measurements of the LCA for EVs provide a basis for support of policy development, sound research, and investment decisions.

Based on the LCA activities in the member countries, these are the main Task goals:

  • Providing policy and decision makers with facts for decisions on EV-related issues
  • Improving end-of-life management by identifying and promoting the best available technologies and practices
  • Improving the design of vehicles and battery systems for optimal recyclability and minimal resource consumption
  • Establishing a research platform for LCA, including end-of-life management for EVs to augment the benefits and competitiveness of vehicles with an electric drivetrain

The main topics to be addressed in the three-year working period are:

  • LCA methodology
  • Frequently asked questions on the environmental issues of EVs
  • Overview of international LCA studies
  • Parameters influencing the energy demand of EVs
  • LCA aspects of battery and vehicle production
  • Vehicle end-of-life management, e.g., recycling, or the reuse of batteries in stationary applications
  • LCA aspects of electricity production, distribution, and vehicle battery charging
  • Summarizing further need for R&D

Task 19 held its first workshop on December 7 in Braunschweig, Germany, entitled “LCA Methodology and Case Studies of Electric Vehicles”.

Presenters for LCA methodology were Amgad Elgowainy, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), U.S., and Andrea Del Duce, EMPA, Switzerland (CH). Presenters for LCA case studies were Maarten Messagie, Vrije University Brussels; Martin Beermann, Joanneum Research, Austria; Hinrich Helms, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Germany; Fausto Freire, University of Coimbra, Portugal; Jane Patterson, Ricardo UK Ltd, UK; Amgad Elgowainy, ANL, U.S; Hans-Joerg Althaus, EMPA, CH; Inbal Sternberg, Better Place, ISR, Denmark; and Hiroyuki Kaneko, International Energy Agency, France.

After the presentations a general discussion ensued, resulting in the identification of six key issues in LCA:

  1. Overarching/general and life cycle modeling
  2. Vehicle cycle (production – use – end of life)
  3. Fuel cycle (electricity production)
  4. Inventory analyses
  5. Impact assessment
  6. Reference system

The next Task 19 workshop focusing on LCA of vehicle and battery production is scheduled to coincide with the 38th IA-HEV Executive Committee meeting at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on April 25–26, 2013. Task 19 member countries are Austria, Germany, United States, and Switzerland. Please contact the Task Operating Agent for more information.

Contributed by Gerfried Jungmeier
Task 19 Operating Agent