Case Study: Electric Vehicles

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  • Case Study: Electric Vehicles


    "Sustainable development" is a relative term: it is development that moves us from the present state towards a more nearly sustainable state. Electric vehicles, particularly, are seen as the way to decarbonise road transport and to contribute to more sustainable transport. France, Germany and the UK all have target EV sales of around 10% of all car sales by 2020. Is this a realistically achievable on a global scale?

    From a materials point of view, the major differences between electric and internal combustion (IC) cars are the replacement of the IC engine with electric motors that, at present, use Neodymium-Boron permanent magnets and the replacement of gasoline or diesel fuel by batteries, at present based on lithium-ion technology. It is estimated that the global production of electric cars - either hybrids (HV), plug-in hybrids (PHV), or fully electric (EV) - will exceed 16 million per year in 2021 and will account for 20% of all vehicles manufactured. Is the present world production of neodymium and of lithium sufficient to support this development? If not, what is the potential for meeting the anticipated demand?

    The arguments for and against electric buses would, you might think, be very like those for and against electric cars, but this is not so. The objectives, size scales and time scales all differ. A second case study exploring the proposal to replace all of London�s diesel buses by electric vehicles, illustrates how these differences profoundly change the outcome. The two case studies use the 5-step method described in the Tool Kit for exploring proposals for sustainable development.

    Here you can find more information on the 5-step methodology for sustainability assessment of technological proposals (Ashby et al., 2015) and the package with templates and handouts for group work: Teaching Package: Active-learning ToolKit - Sustainable Development

    Cost, Design, Legislation, Materials, Processes, Project, Selection, Sustainability, 2017

    Author/s | Institution: Mike Ashby | Granta Design | 2017
    Format | Language | Year : ZIP | English | 2017
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