CMU Study Shows Plug-In Vehicles Drive Down Emissions

While CO2 and NOx emissions will decrease, the study sees SO2 emissions increasing.

Published: 02-Mar-2011

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles will reduce CO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions levels – but they are also expected to push up sulphur oxide emissions.

According to the team at Carnegie Mellon University the net emissions from the use of plug-in vehicles depends primarily on the efficiency of the entire vehicle fleet, charging strategy, battery pack capacity and driving patterns. They modelled the net emissions in two regional transmission operators under different scenarios for future power generation.

The study suggests that if a 2020 conventional vehicle fleet efficiency target of 35mpg is compared to the 2020 charge depleting efficiency then net CO2 emissions will drop by switching from petrol to electricity but less in PJM because of differences in generation.

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