Hidden Benefits of Electric Vehicles for Addressing Climate Change


Canbing Li, Yijia CaoMi ZhangJianhui WangJianguo LiuHaiqing Shi and Yinghui Geng

Journal or Book Title: Scientific Reports

Keywords: electric vehicles, climate change,

Volume/Issue: Vol. 5

Page Number(s): Article No. 9213

Year Published: 2015


There is an increasingly hot debate on whether the replacement of conventional vehicles (CVs) by electric vehicles (EVs) should be delayed or accelerated since EVs require higher cost and cause more pollution than CVs in the manufacturing process. Here we reveal two hidden benefits of EVs for addressing climate change to support the imperative acceleration of replacing CVs with EVs. As EVs emit much less heat than CVs within the same mileage, the replacement can mitigate urban heat island effect (UHIE) to reduce the energy consumption of air conditioners, benefitting local and global climates. To demonstrate these effects brought by the replacement of CVs by EVs, we take Beijing, China, as an example. EVs emit only 19.8% of the total heat emitted by CVs per mile. The replacement of CVs by EVs in 2012 could have mitigated the summer heat island intensity (HII) by about 0.94°C, reduced the amount of electricity consumed daily by air conditioners in buildings by 14.44 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), and reduced daily CO2 emissions by 10,686 tonnes.

DOI: 10.1038/srep09213

Type of Publication: Journal Article