Integrated Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cost Model for Comparing Plug-in Versus Wireless Charging for an Electric Bus System

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An integrated life cycle assessment and life cycle cost (LCC) model was developed to compare the life cycle performance of plug-in charging versus wireless charging for an electric bus system. The model was based on a bus system simulation using existing transit bus routes in the Ann Arbor–Ypsilanti metro area in Michigan. The objective is to evaluate the LCCs for an all-electric bus system utilizing either plug-in or wireless charging and also compare these costs to both conventional pure diesel and hybrid bus systems. Despite a higher initial infrastructure investment for off-board wireless chargers deployed across the service region, the wireless charging bus system has the lowest LCC of US$0.99 per bus-kilometer among the four systems and has the potential to reduce use-phase carbon emissions attributable to the lightweighting benefits of on-board battery downsizing compared to plug-in charging. Further uncertainty analysis and sensitivity analysis indicate that the unit price of battery pack and day or night electricity price are key parameters in differentiating the LCCs between plug-in and wireless charging. Additionally, scenario analyses on battery recycling, carbon emission pricing, and discount rates were conducted to further analyze and compare their respective life cycle performance.

Research Areas: 
electric vehicles
industrial ecology
life cycle cost
vehicle lightweighting
mass transit
wireless charging
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Journal of Industrial Ecology
Date Published: 
April 14, 2017
Persistent URL: 
DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12419
Full Citation: 
Bi, Zicheng, Robert De Kleine, Gregory Keoleian. (2016) “Integrated Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Cost Model for Comparing Plug-in Versus Wireless Charging for an Electric Bus System.” Journal of Industrial Ecology. 21(2): 344-355.
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