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Life cycle assessment of electric vehicles: a systematic review of literature

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This study addresses the pressing need to evaluate the life cycle assessment (LCA) of electric vehicles (EVs) in comparison to traditional vehicles, amid growing environmental concerns and the quest for sustainable transportation alternatives. Through a systematic four-stage literature review, it strives to provide essential insights into the environmental impact, energy consumption, and resource utilization associated with EVs, thereby informing well-informed decisions in the transition to more sustainable transportation systems. The study’s findings underscore a compelling environmental advantage of EVs. They emit a staggering 97% less CO2 equivalent emissions when compared to petrol vehicles, and a significant 70% less compared to their diesel counterparts, rendering them a crucial instrument in the battle against climate change. These environmental benefits are intricately linked to the adoption of clean energy sources and advanced battery technology. Furthermore, the study highlights the potential for additional emissions reduction through the extension of EV lifespans achieved by recycling and advanced battery technologies, with Li-ion batteries enjoying a second life as secondary storage systems. However, challenges remain, most notably the scarcity of rare earth materials essential for EV technology. The study’s policy recommendations advocate for a swift shift towards clean energy sources in both EV production and usage, substantial investments in advanced battery technology, and robust support for recycling initiatives. Addressing the rare earth material shortage is paramount to the sustained growth and viability of EVs, facilitating a greener and more sustainable future in the realm of transportation.

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Pabitra Kumar Das and Mohammad Younus Bhat developed the idea for this article and drafted the work jointly. Pabitra Kumar Das and Shambhu Sajith performed the literature search and data analysis.

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Correspondence to Mohammad Younus Bhat.

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Das, P.K., Bhat, M.Y. & Sajith, S. Life cycle assessment of electric vehicles: a systematic review of literature. Environ Sci Pollut Res 31, 73–89 (2024).

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