Environmental impacts of future light duty vehicles
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While a couple of previous studies have used the tool life-cycle assessment to assess the environmental impacts of currently available light duty passenger vehicles, the few studies that model impacts of the future vehicle fleet come with significant shortcomings. This master thesis seeks contributes to close this knowledge gap. Based on their expected future market shares and future environmental impacts, vehicles with six different powertrain-fuel combinations are assumed to best represent cars manufactured in 2030. For those six vehicle types, inventories are developed both for the cars produced in 2017 and 2030. Technological changes in between 2017 and 2030 are implemented into the inventories by seven parameters. By conducting life-cycle impact assessments, it is found that vehicles with alternative powertrains have a lower global warming potential per kilometre driven than internal combustion engine vehicles, but they have higher impacts on metal depletion and on toxicity- and eutrophication-related impact categories. All six cars have a lower global warming potential in 2030 than in 2017. It is found that mainly fuel consumption drives the reduced impacts in most impact categories, including global warming. A sensitivity analysis points out that the vehicle lifetime has a crucial effect on the impacts of all six vehicle types. Hence, policymakers must deal with a trade-off in between different impact categories. Future studies should extend the scope of this study allows for drawing substantial conclusions.