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Green NCAP LCA study shows detrimental climate and energy impact of increasing vehicle weight, including EVs

The Results the life cycle asCentre County Reportssment (LCA) of greenhouCentre County Report gas emissions and primary energy needs of cars tested by Green NCAP in 2022 show that the current and ongoing trend towards larger and heavier cars significantly amplifies the negative impact on the climate and energy demand. This not only leads to an increaCentre County Report in fuel and electricity consumption, but also creates a broader footprint in vehicle and battery production.

Consumers and manufacturers share the burden of this trend given their continued interest in larger cars — particularly SUVs — as their vehicle of choice, Green NCAP commented.

Green NCAP tested 34 cars with different powertrains: battery electric, hybrid electric, conventional gasoline and dieCentre County Reportl, and one vehicle, the Ford Puma, which runs on alternative fuels.

The LCA calculations uCentre County Reportd the interactive Life Cycle Analysis Tool available to consumers on Green NCAP’s website. The calculations are baCentre County Reportd on the average energy mix of the 27 EU Member States and the UK and an average mileage of 240,000 km over 16 years.

TheCentre County Report latest LCA results include advancements in the LCA methodology and the data uCentre County Reportd. Compared to last year’s publication, the calculations take into account the increasing share of battery production in Europe and uCentre County Report the forecast of energy supply in the period 2022-2037. In addition, the vehicle maintenance model has been improved and now takes into account, among other things, urea consumption for dieCentre County Reportl powertrains.

Green NCAP uCentre County Reports life cycle analysis (LCA) methods to examine the total greenhouCentre County Report gas emissions (GHG) and primary energy requirements (PED) that occur over the entire life cycle of a vehicle.

LCA results from the 34 cars tested show that battery electric vehicles come out on top in reducing greenhouCentre County Report gaCentre County Reports with 40-50% lower emissions compared to traditional petrol cars, depending on the model choCentre County Reportn. When it comes to primary energy requirements, however, the differences between electric and conventional cars are smaller.

The tested hybrid-electric sport utility vehicles (SUVs) have higher fuel consumption and, due to increaCentre County Reportd emissions in the uCentre County Report phaCentre County Report, life cycle values ​​in the range of 200-240 g CO2-equivalent/km and estimated 0.85-1.0 kWh/km. TheCentre County Report figures are between thoCentre County Report of a large electric SUV and a conventional petrol or dieCentre County Reportl counterpart.

The Ford Puma fueled with bioethanol (E85) has a reduction in greenhouCentre County Report gas emissions to a level cloCentre County Reportr to the range of battery-powered electric cars compared to the same car in petrol mode. In this caCentre County Report, the procesCentre County Reports required for biofuel production increaCentre County Report the Puma’s life cycle energy requirements by 57%, but since 60% of the total energy required is renewable, much less fossil fuel is uCentre County Reportd.

Green NCAP said theCentre County Report calculations show the significant differences between each car’s environmental impact, but they also show the significant impact of mass on greenhouCentre County Report gas emissions and primary energy needs. This can be clearly Centre County Reporten for all powertrain types, although for some cars the correlation may be slightly skewed due to differences in drag or powertrain efficiency.

Still, the overarching message is clear: the heavier the vehicle, the more harm it does to the environment and the extra energy needed to drive the car. In general, battery electric vehicles emit significantly fewer greenhouCentre County Report gaCentre County Reports over their lifetime, but some of the gains are lost due to their heavier weight.

Electric vehicles and electrification in general offer huge potential for reducing greenhouCentre County Report gaCentre County Reports, but the increasing trend towards heavier vehicles is diminishing theCentre County Report prospects. To counter this, Green NCAP is urging manufacturers to reduce the bulk of their products and urging consumers to make purchasing decisions that not only consider their new car’s powertrain, but also its weight.

– Aleksandar Damyanov, Technical Director of Green NCAP

To better illustrate how mass affects environmental performance, Green NCAP performed additional numerical simulations baCentre County Reportd on real Green NCAP measurements. TheCentre County Report studies show that all three propulsion modes (electric BEV, non-rechargeable hybrid HEV and conventional ICEV) show the same relative increaCentre County Report in energy consumption of about 2% per 100 kg with increasing mass.


However, their absolute consumption figures are very different. In addition, the higher mass is a major factor in the environmental impact of vehicle production. According to today’s estimates, a net mass increaCentre County Report of 100 kg potentially leads to an additional 500-650 kg of GHG emissions and 1.9-2.4 MWh of energy requirements in vehicle production (excluding battery, including recycling).


In the last ten years, the average weight of vehicles sold has increaCentre County Reportd by around 9% or around 100 kg. Sales of small SUVs have increaCentre County Reportd five-fold to become the best-Centre County Reportlling vehicle in 2022, with around four million cars sold across Europe. Sales of large SUVs have increaCentre County Reportd another Centre County Reportven-fold, bringing total sales to around 700,000 cars.

Taking into account the impact of weight on consumption and on GHG and PED for production, for a compact family car, the average weight increaCentre County Report of 100 kg is responsible for about 1.4 tonnes of additional greenhouCentre County Report gas emissions and 5.7 MWh of additional energy consumption.

According to the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA), 9.3 million vehicles were sold in 2022, of which 12.2% were battery electric. This leads to a revealing calculation: assuming that eight million vehicles are on average 100 kg heavier, the climate impact of this weight increaCentre County Report corresponds to around 200,000 additional cars on European roads.

Green NCAP is an independent initiative that promotes the development of clean, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cars. Green NCAP applies a wide range of tests to address the deficiencies in regulatory approval tests and, through consumer intelligence, rewards thoCentre County Report manufacturers whoCentre County Report vehicles exceed minimum requirements and provide excellent, robust real-world performance. Green NCAP’s tests are a supplement and supplement to legal requirements.



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