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LowCVP and APC exploring how life cycle CO2e assessment can be integrated into production decisions

Mon 28 October 2019 | Back to news list


The LowCVP and the Advanced Propulsion Centre are working together to develop tools to help ensure that the full life cycle CO2-equivalent emissions impacts are taken into account in decisions about vehicle design and production. A life cycle greenhouse gas emissions tool has been developed to examine how impacts vary across vehicle segments. The partners are holding a workshop (members only) on 28 November and are inviting feedback to a stakeholder survey on the issue.

Achieving the Government’s 2050 net zero carbon target requires the UK to make deep cuts in road transport greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades. The rapid adoption of zero tailpipe emission vehicles and low carbon fuels has a critical role to play in reducing vehicle-related GHG emissions. However, to deliver on these decarbonisation ambitions, measures are required by policy makers and the automotive industry to address GHG emission across the full vehicle life cycle, taking into account vehicle production, in-use (WTW) and end-of-life stages. This could offer the UK new opportunities to deliver a low carbon economy and demonstrate international leadership in GHG emissions reduction. 

It's crucial that the transition to a net zero carbon future is achieved sustainably. This means not just focusing on mitigating global warming and climatic impacts, but taking a systems approach to safeguarding the environment, people’s well-being and delivering economic benefits to society. Understanding unintended risks and how these are managed and reduced needs to central in the thinking of both policy makers and business leaders. Life cycle thinking facilitates the opportunity incorporate sustainability into each aspect of a vehicle’s production, use and end-of-life. Examples of key issues include raw material supply chains in vehicle production, production of low carbon fuels and energy vector plus end-of-life component re-use and recycling. 

As part of this year’s work programme the LowCVP is examining how life cycle considerations can be integrated into low carbon vehicles and fuels policy, particularly relevant to electric vehicles which produce no emissions at the tailpipe.

The European Commission has indicated that (in 2025) consideration will be given to integrating life cycle COemissions metrics into future regulation. It is important the work should consider how to harmonise carbon and sustainability standards across climate change mitigation policy areas focused on reducing transport GHG emissions. The Partnership is well placed to contribute to future policy design. 

The LowCVP and APC have developed an in-house life cycle GHG emission tool to examine how life cycle CO2e emissions can vary across vehicle segments (car, trucks and buses), and powertrains. We have been examining how adjusting various assumptions in each stage of the vehicle lifecycle impacts total CO2e emissions. The intention is to share this work with our members and stimulate discussion around life cycle thinking. 

The LowCVP and Advanced Propulsion Centre are holding a seminar and workshop on Thursday 28th November to explore how life cycle CO2e assessment can be better integrated into automotive manufacturing and future vehicle policy. The workshop will help identify priorities for LowCVP and APC work over the next few years to lead and shape this agenda. In early 2020 we intend to hold a seminar to explore sustainability issues relating to zero emission vehicles. 

We would welcome your views on life cycle CO2e emission analysis to help inform our work, please complete our survey.

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