Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Impacts of a Connected and Automated SUV and Van

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As technological advancements progress, the automotive industry is getting closer to producing Level 4 connected and automated vehicles (CAVs). Market trends show personal vehicle sales moving towards sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and increasing use of ridesourcing services. We conducted a life cycle assessment (LCA) of Level 4 CAV subsystem components integrated into battery electric vehicle (BEV SUV) and internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV van) platforms. Vehicle lifetime was modeled based on deployment as an automated taxi, incorporating a standby mode to account for continuous connectivity. This study explores impacts of weight, drag, and subsystem electricity demand relative to benefits of eco-driving, platooning, and intersection connectivity at the vehicle system level. A CAV BEV coupled with a low carbon intensity grid (0.08 kg CO2e/kWh) could see a 31% decrease in life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while a CAV BEV with high computing power requirements (4000 W) could see an increase in GHG emissions of 34% compared with the base case. The net result for the base case (500 W computer power, 14% operational efficiency improvement, 45% highway driving) CAV shows an increase in primary energy use and GHG emissions (2.7%, 2.7% for BEV; 1.3%, 1.1% for ICEV) compared with non-CAV platforms.

Research Areas: 
Direct effects
Life cycle analysis
Connected and automated vehicle
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Date Published: 
June 2020
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Full Citation: 
Kemp, Nicholas J., Gregory A. Keoleian, Xiaoyi He, and Akshat Kasliwal. (2020) “Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Impacts of a Connected and Automated SUV and Van.” Transportation Research Part D 83(102375): 1-11.
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