Category: International organisations, Transport

Electric vehicles from life cycle and circular economy perspectives

A report written for the European Environment Agency that used an extensive literature review to analyse and synthesis the environmental impacts of electric vehicles though life cycle and circular economy perspectives.

This research report, written by Aether for the European Environment Agency, brings together existing evidence on the environmental impact of battery electric vehicles across their life cycle. Where possible, comparisons are made to internal combustion engine vehicles. The report also considers how a move to a circular economy could reduce the environmental impacts.

The challenge

It is expected that electric vehicles will be a key component of Europe’s future mobility system, with the potential for contributing to a reduction in the impacts of climate change and air pollution. By 2030, battery electric vehicles could represent up to 13% of new car registrations in Europe. This requires a better understanding of the environmental impacts of electric vehicles and to consider how these can be reduced in order to maximise potential benefits.

The solution

This report contributes towards a better understanding of battery electric vehicles from a system perspective. This involves an in-depth consideration of the environmental impact of these vehicles across all life cycle stages as well as taking into account broader considerations with a circular economy perspective. The report highlights areas where improvements could be made to minimise the environmental impacts of battery electric vehicles. It also identifies gaps in understanding where additional research would contribute to a better understanding of these impacts.

The result

Aether produced the report, now published on the European Environment Agency website, here.

Some key findings of the report are:

  • Battery electric vehicles offer important opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution
  • There are areas where battery electric vehicles could have negative environmental impacts such as through raw material extraction
  • There are areas of uncertainty, for example with end-of-life processing
  • The evidence base on electric vehicle life cycle impacts needs to be continually updated and developed. This should reflect the different electric vehicle makes and models, emerging data on real-world use and vehicle end-of-life processes.

See all case studies

Richard German

Senior Consultant

Related case studies

Support to the European Environment Agency

Category: International organisations, Emission inventories, Policies and measures

Aether has been providing support to the European Environment Agency under the European Topic Centre of Air and Climate Mitigation since 2014.

Read case study

2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines

Category: International organisations, Emission inventories

Justin Goodwin, Director at Aether, worked as part of a multi-national team on the 2019 Refinement of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Read case study

News

Latest news

Posted on: 22 October 2019

Residential and Commercial Air Quality Assessment, Camberwell in London

Aether was commissioned to undertake an air quality assessment and air quality neutral assessment for a proposed mixed residential, commercial and hotel development in Camberwell in London.

Read full story

Posted on: 08 October 2019

Conwy County Borough Council Climate Emergency Support

Aether, along with CAG consultants, are working with Conwy County Borough Council to support them in responding to their declaration of a climate emergency. The project will define and map the route to Carbon Net Zero by 2030.

Read full story

Posted on: 04 September 2019

Innovations in Air Quality

Aether and Air Quality Consultants are pleased to be working with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to identify cutting edge innovations that could be used at the local level to reduce air pollution over the next 5-10 years.

Read full story

Posted on: 20 August 2019

Lewisham Council Climate Emergency declaration support

Aether has recently started work on a project in collaboration with CAG Consultants supporting Lewisham Council to shape and respond to its climate emergency declaration.

Read full story

Testimonial

Don't just take our word for it...

“Aether delivered training workshops and generated learning materials for our SSN members, providing technical content in a manageable and comprehendible format. We particularly benefitted from their extensive knowledge and ability to interpret the needs of our members into the training materials.”

Jennifer Anderson, Sustainable Scotland Network

“It is always an absolute pleasure working with Aether. I always know what is expected of me. Their work ethic is of a very high standard and projects are always handled in a very professional manner. I have learnt many skills in terms of project management, quality control and workshop training styles from Aether and I hope to carry these principles forward in my own work. I look forward to collaborating with Aether more in the future.”

Luanne Stevens, Gondwana

“Engaging Aether to support us to develop the first GHG Inventory System and first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for the United Republic of Tanzania has been a rewarding experience due to their high level of professionalism, creativity, timeliness and value for money. We will definitely consider Aether in our future initiatives.”

Abbas Kitogo, Programme Specialist Energy and Climate Change, UNDP Tanzania

“The Aether team were a joy to work with and I would recommend the consultancy - the service provided throughout the process was exceptional.”

Clare Bayley, Defra

“The professional service provided by your company was of very high quality and completed within agreed timelines.”

Matthew Dudley, UNFCCC Secretariat

“Both the face-to-face training and the online version have been of high quality, with dynamic methods and a practical orientation that have allowed students to reach a solid knowledge base. The products have been delivered within the stipulated deadlines with an excellent quality and the team has always shown willingness to make adjustments according to the requirements of CONAF. We are very satisfied with the work. ”

Javier Cano Martín, Professional Unit for Climate Change and Environmental Services, CONAF (National Forestry Corporation), Chile

“If we have a need for any more reports in the future Aether will be first on my list.”

Alan Hardy, Kyson Design

“The team at Aether works very professionally and communicates very well which makes working with them a pleasure. Outputs are delivered on time to high quality. The team brings the rigour of technical knowledge and expertise and finds innovative ways of communicating complex messages. I would be happy to recommend the Aether team to organisations working on analysing and presenting emissions information in the public domain.”

Fiona Glover, States of Jersey

“Professional team and very collaborative communication. Effective result in terms of suggestions for improvement in the quality of the inventory and proposals on how to streamline specific topics.”

Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

“It has been a pleasure to work with Chris Dore and Richard Claxton from Aether: they did their job in a very professional and timely manner. The workshop was organized and carried out in a cooperative spirit; the information provided to the workshop participants was complete and clear.”

Alina Novikova, UN/ECE Secretariat

Required form 'ContactES' does not exist.