Study: Benefits and challenges of emission-free utility vehicles


thinkstep and Prognos conducted a study about the benefits and challenges of emission-free vehicles.

Political efforts to electrify the vehicle fleet mostly focus on cars, busses and light delivery vans. However, since European air quality standards related to particles and NOx are still exceeded in many cities, exhaust emissions of other commercial vehicles (CVs) as well as non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) like construction machines and agricultural vehicles have to be considered as well to improve urban air quality accordingly. Only in Baden-Württemberg these segments total up to over 400,000 units which are almost 100 % diesel-powered and thus contribute significantly to local emissions.

In 2010, NRMM had about the same particle emissions as the entire road traffic and about one quarter of its NOx emissions. Thus, in this study the potential application of zero-emission drivetrains in the whole CV sector including NRMM was evaluated. First, the regulatory framework as well as the economic and ecological relevance of the different CV segments were depicted. For five selected CVs, the total cost of ownership (TCO) and the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of zero-emission drivetrains were then analysed in comparison to conventional diesel engines. Based on these results, the potentials, barriers and market readiness of zero-emission CVs were assessed.