Category: International organisations, Policies and measures

Electric vehicles from life cycle and circular economy perspectives

A report written for the European Environment Agency that used an extensive literature review to analyse and synthesis the environmental impacts of electric vehicles though life cycle and circular economy perspectives.

This research report, written by Aether for the European Environment Agency, brings together existing evidence on the environmental impact of battery electric vehicles across their life cycle. Where possible, comparisons are made to internal combustion engine vehicles. The report also considers how a move to a circular economy could reduce the environmental impacts.

The challenge

It is expected that electric vehicles will be a key component of Europe’s future mobility system, with the potential for contributing to a reduction in the impacts of climate change and air pollution. By 2030, battery electric vehicles could represent up to 13% of new car registrations in Europe. This requires a better understanding of the environmental impacts of electric vehicles and to consider how these can be reduced in order to maximise potential benefits.

The solution

This report contributes towards a better understanding of battery electric vehicles from a system perspective. This involves an in-depth consideration of the environmental impact of these vehicles across all life cycle stages as well as taking into account broader considerations with a circular economy perspective. The report highlights areas where improvements could be made to minimise the environmental impacts of battery electric vehicles. It also identifies gaps in understanding where additional research would contribute to a better understanding of these impacts.

The result

Aether produced the report, now published on the European Environment Agency website, here.

Some key findings of the report are:

  • Battery electric vehicles offer important opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution
  • There are areas where battery electric vehicles could have negative environmental impacts such as through raw material extraction
  • There are areas of uncertainty, for example with end-of-life processing
  • The evidence base on electric vehicle life cycle impacts needs to be continually updated and developed. This should reflect the different electric vehicle makes and models, emerging data on real-world use and vehicle end-of-life processes.

See all case studies

Richard German

Principal Consultant

Related case studies

Developing a comprehensive approach to nitrogen in the UK

Category: International organisations, Policies and measures

Aether, alongside project partners the Stockholm Environment Institute, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and Plantlife International, undertook a study for WWF of the nitrogen cycles and pathways in the UK and reviewed existing strategies and policies that could affect the balance of nitrogen in the environment.

Read case study

Support to the European Environment Agency

Category: International organisations, Emission inventories, Policies and measures

Aether has been providing support to the European Environment Agency through their European Topic Centres since 2014, focussing on air pollution, industrial pollution and climate change mitigation.

Read case study

EU Forest Reference Levels

Category: International organisations, LULUCF

Aether provided support to the European Commission and the LULUCF Expert Group in the technical assessment of EU Member State's National Forestry Accounting Plans.

Read case study

News

Latest news

Posted on: 28 June 2024

Supreme Court Ruling Creates Clean Slate to Elevate Weight of Environmental Impact in Infrastructure Development

Communicating harm from greenhouse gas emissions is critical to the debate needed for decisions on major development and infrastructure projects. The 20th June 2024 Supreme Court of Justice decision creates a clean slate to move forward on the need for better evidence on the significance of environmental harm caused by greenhouse gas pollution.

Read full story

Posted on: 22 March 2024

An Update on Aether's Recent AQA Services

Aether's air quality team has been providing consultancy services across the UK. Recent projects include EIAs for residential and mixed-use developments in Somerset, ensuring compliance with air quality objectives through dispersion modelling, and advising on ventilation strategies for a redevelopment project in Westminster.

Read full story

Posted on: 23 February 2024

Report published: Climate change mitigation through policies on waste – intersectoral analysis

A newly released briefing by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on the climate change mitigation benefits of circular economy and waste sector policies and measures features a technical report led by Aether, which explores the implementation of European waste policy and the linkages to other reporting sectors.

Read full story

Posted on: 20 February 2024

Report published: Guidance on limits of freight train trailing length as governed by tractive effort (T1302)

Aether contributed to a RSSB project led by Railfreight Consulting to develop a new methodology for calculating maximum trailing loads for freight trains.

Read full story

Testimonial

Don't just take our word for it...

“Saint Lucia embraces the professional approach with which this project was undertaken by Aether, particularly their ability to develop mentorship relations with local government experts. This provides a basis for ensuring that the pool of local experts remain engaged and recognized over successive processes.”

Annette Rattigan-Leo, Chief Sustainable Development and Environment Officer

“The professional service provided by your company was of very high quality and completed within agreed timelines.”

Matthew Dudley, UNFCCC Secretariat

“Both the face-to-face training and the online version have been of high quality, with dynamic methods and a practical orientation that have allowed students to reach a solid knowledge base. The products have been delivered within the stipulated deadlines with an excellent quality and the team has always shown willingness to make adjustments according to the requirements of CONAF. We are very satisfied with the work. ”

Javier Cano Martín, Professional Unit for Climate Change and Environmental Services, CONAF (National Forestry Corporation), Chile

“Aether's approach to couple innovative visualisation with high expertise manpower delivered valuable insights for our inventory work.”

Umweltbundesamt (Germany)

“Aether is a great partner for work in the area of European Air Emissions. The team was committed, reliable, well organised and had a deep technical understanding and motivated other partners with their good spirit.”

Umweltbundesamt: Environment Agency Austria

“The team at Aether works very professionally and communicates very well which makes working with them a pleasure. Outputs are delivered on time to high quality. The team brings the rigour of technical knowledge and expertise and finds innovative ways of communicating complex messages. I would be happy to recommend the Aether team to organisations working on analysing and presenting emissions information in the public domain.”

Fiona Glover, States of Jersey

“Aether was a great asset in involving/engaging with Member States experts on highly technical subjects regarding GHG reporting. Very clear communication of issues and results.”

Andreas Pilzecker, DG CLIMA

“If we have a need for any more reports in the future Aether will be first on my list.”

Alan Hardy, Kyson Design

“Chris was excellent to work with and always very pro active in making suggestions, taking work forward and applying his considerable technical knowledge in effective ways.”

Robert Vaughan, Defra Air Quality Team

“The support provided by Aether for this project was especially remarkable considering the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tools and methods used in order to engage local stakeholders really added value to the capacity building of the national team.”

Shanna Emmanuel, Saint Lucia BUR Project Coordinator

Required form 'ContactES' does not exist.