Sustainable Mobility: Using a Global Energy Model to Inform Vehicle Technology Choices in a Decarbonized Economy

Grahn, Maria; Klampfl, Erica; Whalen, Margaret; Wallington, Timothy J.
June 2013
Sustainability (2071-1050);Jun2013, Vol. 5 Issue 6, p1845
Academic Journal
The reduction of CO2 emissions associated with vehicle use is an important element of a global transition to sustainable mobility and is a major long-term challenge for society. Vehicle and fuel technologies are part of a global energy system, and assessing the impact of the availability of clean energy technologies and advanced vehicle technologies on sustainable mobility is a complex task. The global energy transition (GET) model accounts for interactions between the different energy sectors, and we illustrate its use to inform vehicle technology choices in a decarbonizing economy. The aim of this study is to assess how uncertainties in future vehicle technology cost, as well as how developments in other energy sectors, affect cost-effective fuel and vehicle technology choices. Given the uncertainties in future costs and efficiencies for light-duty vehicle and fuel technologies, there is no clear fuel/vehicle technology winner that can be discerned at the present time. We conclude that a portfolio approach with research and development of multiple fuel and vehicle technology pathways is the best way forward to achieve the desired result of affordable and sustainable personal mobility. The practical ramifications of this analysis are illustrated in the portfolio approach to providing sustainable mobility adopted by the Ford Motor Company.


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