Study Finds Plugin Hybrids Will Have Only Small Impact on Petroleum Use and CO2 Production by 2030
December 20th, 2009 | Posted in: Research
The US National Research Council released findings this week of its study on plugin hybrids and their potential long-term effect on US petroleum consumption and CO2 production.
For the study, two hypothetical vehicles were analyzed; a PHEV-10 with ten all electric miles like the plugin Prius, and a PHEV-40 like the Chevrolet Volt.
Several key conclusions were drawn:
1. Lithium ion batteries costs are high and will likely remain high. The PHEV-10 was estimated to cost $6300 more than a conventional vehicle to build and the PHEV-40 $18,000 more, including a $3300 and a $14,000 battery respectively. Cost as lithium ion battery technology matures was projected to only drop by 1/3 by the year 2020, and more slowly after that.
2. At gas prices less than $4.00 per gallon, PHEV-40s will not become cost effective until 2040, PHEV-10s may get there before 2030
3. The fastest market penetration that could be predicted was 40 million cars out of a fleet of 300 million by 2030. It was expected, however, that the rate would actually be closer to 13 million due to the effects of limited charging infrastructure, high cost, and market competition.
4. PHEVs would have little effect on petroleum consumption before 2030 because there won’t be enough of them in the US fleet. However, a PHEV-10 would only reduce oil consumption by 20% (70 gallons per year) whereas a PHEV-40 would reduce it by 55% (200 gallons per year), and therefore would have a much greater impact on petroleum use if it became the dominant market choice. Forty million PHEV10s would reduce US petroleum use by0.2 million barrels of oil per day. Forty million PHEV40s would reduce US petroleum use by 0.55 million barrels of oil per day. Currently, the light duty US fleet uses 9 million barrels of oil per day.
5. Nighttime charging will not add any additional stress to the US electric grid, but $1000 per car smart chargers will be necessary to avoid taxing the grid during peak hours
6. CO2 emissions would be reduced by using PHEV10s versus traditional gas cars, but hybrids would produce even less when taking powerplants into account. PHEV40s are more effective than PHEV10s at reducing CO2 emissions. CO2 reduction benefits will be small until the grid becomes “decarbonized” and renewable and nuclear sources become more contributory after 2030.
7. A portfolio approach of increased efficiency gas cars, biofuels, HEVs, and PHEVs is recommended. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are considered the only way to eliminate gasoline use altogether.
Original Source: (USNRC)