The objective of Task 40 CRM4EV is to determine in a fact based, transparent scientific approach the life cycle environmental impacts of EVs. The purpose of this is to provide stakeholders with information which can be used to continuously reduce the environmental impacts going towards the mass deployment of EVs. The information also provides stakeholders with a means to interpret and answer to the frequently posed – but not substantiated and sometimes “fake news”- challenges related to EVs. This goes sometimes as far as suggestion that EVs are actually “worse” than combustion engine vehicles when looking at environmental impacts.
EVs have several significant environmental benefits over conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. Undisputed is the absence of any tailpipe emissions, being CO2 or air pollutants impacting human health and the environment. They also do not use any motor or transmission oils and use less spare parts like brake pads and disks.
Over the life cycle of the EV, emissions of CO2 and other pollutants occur where related to the construction of the vehicles. Also, when not using renewable electricity for charging the battery emissions occur related to the production of electricity although these are almost always significant lower than those related to the use of fossil fuels for driving and in worst case – coal fired electricity generation – similar. Globally, the generation of electricity is getting cleaner.
Concerning the construction of EVs, especially the value chains for Lithium-ion batteries and Permanent Magnets can generate substantial emissions.
Task 40 CRM4EV will study the environmental impacts of the CRMs and the main components like Lithium-ion batteries in the context of the entire EV lifecycle. Focus will be to determine the environmental impact categories GWP (Greenhouse Warming Potential) and the primary energy demand. Task 40 CRM4EV will provide clear guidance and insights to non-LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) experts with respect to the meaning and interpretation of the results. The integrated approach of Task 40 will assure that the LCA experts will get the most up to date information coming from the mining and Lithium-ion battery manufacturing industry. The extensive work done in this area by the various academic, research and industrial participants will be leveraged to quickly yield results. Harmonization will be done of methodologies in existing CRM-LCA studies (e.g. allocation between co-products) and both current and future battery chemistries will be considered.
Task 40 CRMEV also cooperates with The World Bank and its programme “Climate Smart Mining”.
By exploring the successful approaches coming from the private and the public sectors, CRM4EV aims at projecting scenarios where the sourcing of CRMs needed to respond to a mass deployment of Electric Vehicles can have the lowest environmental impact.