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Sustainable Personal Road Transport: The Role of Electric Vehicles
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development. (Strategic Sustainable Development)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8314-7504
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Electric vehicles can play an important role in a future sustainable road transport system and many Swedish politicians would like to see them implemented faster. This is likely desirable to reach the target of a fossil independent vehicle fleet in Sweden by 2030 and a greenhouse gas neutral Swedish society no later than 2050. However, to reach both these targets, and certainly to support the full scope of sustainability, it is important to consider the whole life-cycle of the vehicles and also the interaction between the transport sector and other sectors. So far, there are no plans for transitions towards a sustainable transport system applying a sufficiently wide systems perspective, in Sweden or elsewhere. This implies a great risk for sub-optimizations.

The overall aim of this work is to elaborate methodological support for development of sustainable personal road transport systems that is informed by a strategic sustainable development perspective.

The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) is used as a foundation for the work to ensure a sufficiently wide systems perspective and coordinated collaboration across disciplines and sectors, both in the research and application. Maxwell’s Qualitative Research Design and the Design Research Methodology are used as overall guides for the research approach. Specific research methods and techniques include literature studies, action research seminars, interviews, and measurements of energy use, costs, and noise. Moreover, a case study on the conditions for a breakthrough for vehicles in southeast Sweden has been used as a test and development platform.

Specific results include a preliminary vision for electrical vehicles in southeast Sweden, framed by the principled sustainability definition of the FSSD, an assessment of the current reality in relation to that vision, and proposed solutions to bridge the gap, organized into a preliminary roadmap. The studies show that electric vehicles have several sustainability advantages even when their whole life-cycle is considered, provided that they are charged with electricity from new renewable sources. Electrical vehicles also imply a low total cost of ownership and could promote new local ‘green jobs’ under certain conditions. Particularly promising results are seen for electric buses in public transport. As a general result, partly based on the experiences from the specific case, a generic community planning process model is proposed and its usefulness for sustainable transport system development is discussed.

The strategic sustainable development perspective of this thesis broadens the analysis beyond the more common focus on climate change issues and reduces the risk of sub-optimizations in community and transport system development. The generic support for multi-stakeholder collaboration could potentially also promote a more participatory democratic approach to community development, grounded in a scientific foundation. Future research will explore specific decision support systems for sustainable transport development based on the generic planning process model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2016. , 116 p.
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Licentiate Dissertation Series, ISSN 1650-2140 ; 2016:02
Keyword [en]
Strategic Sustainable Development, Transport Planning, Electric Vehicles, Testing, LCA
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-11715ISBN: 978-91-7295-325-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-11715DiVA: diva2:911956
Presentation
2016-04-15, BTH: J1650, Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Karlskrona, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
GreenCharge
Available from: 2016-03-15 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-10-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A strategic approach to sustainable transport system development - Part 1: attempting a generic community planning process model
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A strategic approach to sustainable transport system development - Part 1: attempting a generic community planning process model
2017 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 140, no Part 1, 53-61 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Electric vehicles seem to offer a great potential for sustainable transport development. The Swedish pioneer project GreenCharge Southeast is designed as a cooperative action research approach that aims to explore a roadmap for a fossil-free transport system by 2030 with a focus on electric vehicles. It is the following combination of objectives that puts demand on a new process model adapted for cross-sector and cross-disciplinary cooperation: (i) a fossil-free transport system in Sweden by 2030 and, to avoid sub-optimizations in the transport sector, (ii) assuring that solutions that support (i) also serve other aspects of sustainability in the transport sector and, to avoid that sustainable solutions in the transport sector block sustainable solutions in other sectors, (iii) assuring cohesive creativity across sectors and groups of experts and stakeholders. The new process model was applied in an action-research mode for the exploration of electric vehicles within a fully sustainable transport system to test the functionality of the model in support of its development. To deliver on the above combination of objectives, a framework was needed with principles for sustainability that are universal for any sector as boundary conditions for redesign, and with guidelines for how any organization or sector can create economically feasible step- by-step transition plans. The Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) is designed to serve such purposes and therefore is embedded into the new process model. The exploration of this new model also helped to identify four interdependent planning perspectives (‘Resource base’, ‘Spatial’, ‘Technical’ and ‘Governance’) that should be represented by the respective experts and stakeholders using the model. In general, the new process model proved helpful by giving diverse stakeholders with various competences and representing various planning perspectives a common, robust, and easy-to- understand goal and a way of working that was adequate for each of their contexts. Furthermore, the evolving process model likely is relevant and useful not only for transport planning and electric vehicles, but for any other societal sector as well and thus for sustainable community planning in general. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keyword
Sustainability, Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development, FSSD, Traffic, Transport, Strategic planning
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-11713 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.02.054 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-03-14 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-12-19Bibliographically approved
2. Advancing from efficiency to sustainability in Swedish medium-sized cities: an approach for recommending powertrains and energy carriers for public bus transport systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Advancing from efficiency to sustainability in Swedish medium-sized cities: an approach for recommending powertrains and energy carriers for public bus transport systems
2014 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

European national, regional, and local authorities have started to take action to make public bus transport services more effective and less polluting. Some see the possibility to move beyond a narrow focus on efficiency or carbon dioxide reductions towards an integrated sustainability perspective. This paper uses this perspective to build and test a new assessment approach that should enhance decisions on bus transport powertrains and energy carriers for Swedish medium-sized cities. The study suggests that a superiority of electric powertrains is revealed if a traditional economic analysis is integrated with a strategic sustainability perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014
Series
Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, ISSN 1877-0428 ; vol. 111
Keyword
Electric bus, Life cycle assessment, Greenhouse gas emissions
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-6682 (URN)10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.092 (DOI)000335582500060 ()
Conference
16th Meeting of the EURO Working Group on Transportation, EWGT 2013, Porto, Portugal
Available from: 2014-07-17 Created: 2013-12-15 Last updated: 2016-04-22Bibliographically approved
3. A Strategic Sustainability and Life Cycle Analysis of Electric Vehicles in EU today and by 2050
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Strategic Sustainability and Life Cycle Analysis of Electric Vehicles in EU today and by 2050
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of ICSUTE 2016, 2016, Vol. 10, 229-237 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Ambitions within the EU for moving towards sustainable transport include major emission reductions for fossil fuel road vehicles, especially for buses, trucks, and cars. The electric driveline seems to be an attractive solution for such development. This study first applied the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development to compare sustainability effects of today’s fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles that have batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. The study then addressed a scenario were electric vehicles might be in majority in Europe by 2050. The methodology called Strategic Lifecycle Assessment was first used, were each life cycle phase was assessed for violations against sustainability principles. This indicates where further analysis could be done in order to quantify the magnitude of each violation, and later to create alternative strategies and actions that lead towards sustainability. A Life Cycle Assessment of combustion engine cars, plug-in hybrid cars, battery electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars was then conducted to compare and quantify environmental impacts. The authors found major violations of sustainability principles like use of fossil fuels, which contribute to the increase of emission related impacts such as climate change, acidification, eutrophication, ozone depletion, and particulate matters. Other violations were found, such as use of scarce materials for batteries and fuel cells, and also for most life cycle phases for all vehicles when using fossil fuel vehicles for mining, production and transport. Still, the studied current battery and hydrogen fuel cell cars have less severe violations than fossil fuel cars. The life cycle assessment revealed that fossil fuel cars have overall considerably higher environmental impacts compared to electric cars as long as the latter are powered by renewable electricity. By 2050, there will likely be even more sustainable alternatives than the studied electric vehicles when the EU electricity mix mainly should stem from renewable sources, batteries should be recycled, fuel cells should be a mature technology for use in vehicles (containing no scarce materials), and electric drivelines should have replaced combustion engines in other sectors. An uncertainty for fuel cells in 2050 is whether the production of hydrogen will have had time to switch to renewable resources. If so, that would contribute even more to a sustainable development. Except for being adopted in the GreenCharge roadmap, the authors suggest that the results can contribute to planning in the upcoming decades for a sustainable increase of EVs in Europe, and potentially serve as an inspiration for other smaller or larger regions. Further studies could map the environmental effects in LCA further, and include other road vehicles to get a more precise perception of how much they could affect sustainable development.

Series
International Journal of Environmental, Chemical, Ecological, Geological and Geophysical Engineering, ISSN 2010-3778 ; 3
Keyword
Strategic, electric vehicles, fuel cell, LCA, sustainability
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-11711 (URN)
Conference
The 18th International Conference on Sustainable Urban Transport and Environment (ICSUTE), Madrid, Spain, March 24-25, 2016
Available from: 2016-03-14 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-03-15Bibliographically approved
4. A strategic approach to sustainable transport system development - Part 2: the case of a vision for electric vehicle systems in Southeast Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A strategic approach to sustainable transport system development - Part 2: the case of a vision for electric vehicle systems in Southeast Sweden
Show others...
2017 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 140, no Part 1, 62-71 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Electric vehicles seem to offer a great potential for sustainable transport development. The Swedish pioneer project GreenCharge Southeast is designed as a cooperative action research approach that aims to explore a roadmap for a fossil-free transport system by 2030 with a focus on electric vehicles. In the first paper of this tandem publication, the authors propose a new generic process model embedding the Framework of Strategic Sustainable Development. The purpose of applying it in an action-research mode as described in this paper was twofold: (i) to develop a vision for sustainable regional transport and a coarse roadmap towards that vision, and, while doing so, (ii) get additional empirical experiences to inform the development of the new generic process model. Experts from many sectors and organizations involved in the GreenCharge project provided vital information and reviewed all planning perspectives presented in Paper 1 in two sequential multi-stakeholder seminars. The results include a sustainable vision for electric vehicle systems in southeast Sweden within a sustainable regional transport system within a sustainable global society, as well as an initial development plan towards such a vision for the transport sector. The vision is framed by the universal sustainability principles, and the development plan is informed by the strategic guidelines, of the above-mentioned framework. Among other things, the vision and plan imply a shift to renewable energy and a more optimized use of areas and thus a new type of spatial planning. For example, the vision and plan implies a lower built-in demand for transport, more integrated traffic modes, and more multi-functional use of areas for energy and transport infrastructures, for example. Some inherent benefits of electric vehicles are highlighted in the vision and plan, including near-zero local emissions and flexibility as regards primary energy sources. The vision and plan also imply improved governance for more effective cross-sector collaboration to ensure coor- dinated development within the transport sector and between the transportation sector and other relevant sectors. Meanwhile, the new generic process model was refined and is ready to be applied and further tested in the GreenCharge project and in other projects within the transport sector as well as other sectors. The study confirmed that the new generic process model suggested in support of sus- tainable transport system and community development is helpful for giving diverse stakeholders, with various specialties and perspectives, a way of working that is goal-oriented and builds on effective, iterative learning loops and co-creation. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keyword
Sustainability, Cross-sector, Traffic, Electric vehicles, Strategic planning, Vision
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-11714 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.02.055 (DOI)
Available from: 2016-03-14 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-12-19Bibliographically approved
5. Preference of Electric Buses in Public Transport: Conclusions from Real Life Testing in Eight Swedish Municipalities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Preference of Electric Buses in Public Transport: Conclusions from Real Life Testing in Eight Swedish Municipalities
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of ICSUTE 2016, 2016, Vol. 10, 255-264 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

From a theoretical perspective, Electric buses can be more sustainable and can be cheaper than fossil fuelled buses in city traffic. The authors have not found other studies based on actual urban public transport in Swedish winter climate. Further on, noise measurements from buses for the European market where found old. The aims of this follow-up study was therefore to test and possibly verify in a real-life environment how energy efficient and silent electric buses are, and then conclude on if electric buses are preferable to use in public transport. The Ebusco 2.0 electric bus, fitted with a 311 kWh battery pack, was used and the tests carried out during November 2014 to April 2015 in eight municipalities in the south of Sweden. Six tests took place in urban traffic and two took place in more of a rural traffic setting. The energy use for propulsion was measured via logging of the internal system in the bus and via an external charging meter. The average energy use turned out to be 8 % less (0,96 kWh/km) than assumed in the earlier theoretical study. This rate allows for a 320 km range in public urban traffic. The interior of the bus was kept warm by a diesel heater (biodiesel will probably be used in a future operational traffic situation), which used 0,67 kWh/km in January. This verified that electric buses can be up to 25% cheaper when used in public transport in cities for about eight years. The noise was found to be lower, primarily during acceleration, than for buses with combustion engines in urban bus traffic. According to our surveys, most passengers and drivers appreciated the silent and comfortable ride and preferred electric buses rather than combustion engine buses. Bus operators and passenger transport executives were also positive to start using electric buses for public transport. The operators did however point out that procurement processes need to account for eventual risks regarding this new technology, along with personnel education. The study revealed that it is possible to establish a charging infrastructure for almost all studied bus lines. However, design of a charging infrastructure for each municipality requires further investigations, including electric grid capacity analysis, smart location of charging points, and tailored schedules to allow fast charging. In conclusion, electric buses proved to be a preferable alternative for all stakeholders involved in public bus transport in the studied municipalities. However, in order to electric buses to be a prominent support for sustainable development, they need to be charged either by stand-alone units or via an expansion of the electric grid, and the electricity should be made from new renewable sources.

Series
International Journal of Environmental, Chemical, Ecological, Geological and Geophysical Engineering, ISSN 2010-3778 ; 3
Keyword
Sustainability, Electric Bus, Noise, GreenCharge
National Category
Other Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-11712 (URN)PISSN:2010-376X, EISSN:2010-3778 (ISBN)
Conference
The 18th International Conference on Sustainable Urban Transport and Environment, Madrid
Available from: 2016-03-14 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-09-23Bibliographically approved

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