Automotive Electrification Challenges Shown by Real-World Driving Data and Lifecycle Assessment

Michael Neidhardt, Jordi Mas-Peiro, Antonia Schneck, Josep O. Pou, Rafael Gonzalez-Olmos, Arno Kwade, Benedikt Schmuelling

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Electric mobility is considered a solution to reduce carbon emissions. We expanded a lifecycle assessment with data on technical limitations and driving habits (based on real-world data) in order to identify the environmentally optimal drivetrain for each individual driving behavior with current and projected technologies, focusing on CO2 emissions. By combining all data, an environmentally optimal European drivetrain mix is calculated, which is dominated by fuel-cell electric vehicles (50% in 2020, 47% in 2030), followed by plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (37%, 40%), battery-electric vehicles (BEV) (5%, 12%), and Diesel vehicles (2%, 1%). Driving behavior defines the most environmental drivetrain and the coexistence of different drivetrains is currently still necessary. Such information is crucial to identify limitations and unmet technological needs for full electrification. If range is not considered a limitation, the environmentally optimal drivetrain mix is dominated by BEVs (71%, 75%), followed by fuel cell electric vehicles (25%, 19%) and plug-in electric vehicles (4%, 6%). This confirms the potential environmental benefits of BEVs for current and future transportation. Developments in battery energy density, charging, and sustainable production, as well as a change in driving behavior, will be crucial to make BEVs the environmentally optimal drivetrain choice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15972
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022


  • automotive fleet analysis
  • electric vehicle
  • electrification forecast
  • environmental impact
  • life cycle assessment
  • sustainable transport


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