People around the world have taken to electric vehicles and the electric vehicle market is in an upswing; however, in the future renewable energy will be key to increased adoption of such vehicles, a new study has shown.
The move towards electric vehicles was motivated because of need to reduce environmental impact of vehicles through reduced emissions. Over the years as the electric vehicle market matured, automakers started focusing on price and range of these vehicles as initial high costs and shorter range became a major obstacle in electric vehicle adoption.
Researchers at Queensland University of Technology say that in future, environmental performance will also play a major role in determining how the electric vehicle market shapes up. Researchers say that environmental performance – or being green – was more important than price or range confidence for electric vehicle consumers.
Electric vehicles can’t be considered truly green vehicles because electricity being fed into these vehicles is still coming from power plants that use fossil fuels. For electric vehicles to be truly green, electricity needs to be produced from renewable energy sources.
In a newly published study titled Consumer purchase intentions for electric vehicles: Is green more important than price and range? Dr Degirmenci found environmental performance was in fact an even stronger predictor of purchase intention over price and range confidence.
The study involved interviews with 40 consumers and a survey with 167 people who participated in test drives with plug-in battery electric vehicles in Germany.
Researchers found that participants placed great emphasis on the need for electricity for electric vehicles to be produced from renewable energy sources in order for them to be a true alternative.
Scientists point out that when considering greenhouse gas emissions it was important to acknowledge the difference between on-road emissions only taking into account the fuel used, and well-to-wheel emissions including all emissions related to fuel production, processing, distribution and use. Consider the case of a petrol vehicle that produces 119g CO2-e/km, of which most are on-road emissions. In comparison, an electric vehicle produces zero on-road emissions.
But the electricity that is used to charge these vehicles is generated from coal and it produces 139g CO2-e/km well-to-wheel emissions, compared with only 9g CO2-e/km well-to-wheel emissions with electricity from renewable energy sources.
Researcher say their findings are relevant to Australia because the transport sector accounted for 16 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and 85 per cent of these were generated by road transport. The same could be the case around the world.