“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers…

An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers……….
An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

The Knowledge Library

Net-Zero for Vehicles

Understanding Net-Zero for Vehicles

  • “Net-zero for vehicles” refers to the concept of achieving carbon neutrality or net-zero carbon emissions in the transportation sector.
  • This goal involves reducing the overall carbon footprint of vehicles to balance the emissions they produce with equivalent carbon removal or offsetting measures.

Achieving Net-Zero for Vehicles:

  • Decarbonization of Vehicles: This includes transitioning from conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) that rely on fossil fuels to electric vehicles (EVs) that run on electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
  • Electrification: This involves increasing the adoption of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that produce zero tailpipe emissions when operating on electricity.
  • Renewable Energy Integration: To ensure that EVs are truly net-zero, the electricity used to charge them must come from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power.
  • Sustainable Fuels: For certain types of vehicles that may not be easily electrifiable, such as heavy-duty trucks and aviation, the use of sustainable fuels can play a role in achieving net-zero emissions.
  • Infrastructure Development: Building and expanding charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is essential to support the widespread adoption of EVs.
  • Carbon Offsetting: Carbon offsetting involves supporting projects that remove or reduce an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, such as afforestation, reforestation, or renewable energy projects.
  • Policy Support: Incentives, subsidies, emissions standards, and carbon pricing mechanisms can encourage consumers and industries to adopt cleaner transportation options.

Types of Electric Vehicles

  • Electric Vehicle (EV): Any vehicle using an electric drivetrain powered by a portable electrical energy source.
  • Hybrid EV: Combines an internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electrical generator to produce electricity. It utilizes a small battery (1-5kWh) as an energy buffer but cannot be charged from the grid.
  • Full EV: Also known as a battery EV or plug-in EV, it lacks an ICE, resulting in no tailpipe emissions. It has a larger battery (20-120 kWh) charged solely from the grid.
  • Plug-in Hybrid EV: A hybrid EV with a larger battery (5-15 kWh) that can be charged from the grid, operating in full electric mode as long as there is energy in the battery.
  • Fuel-Cell EV: Utilizes a fuel cell and a small battery buffer to produce electricity for the drivetrain.

Fuel Economy and Emissions of Hybrid and Fully Electric EVs

  • Hybrid EVs: With the combination of an ICE, generator, and battery, hybrid EVs exhibit 1.5-2x higher fuel economy than conventional ICE vehicles in city driving and 1-1.5x higher in highway driving.
  • Plug-in Hybrid EVs: Combine the advantages of hybrid and full EVs, covering 80-90% of short commutes in fully electric mode with 3-4x higher fuel economy than conventional vehicles.
  • Life-Cycle Emissions: A comprehensive index considering well-to-wheel emissions, vehicle, and battery production, maintenance, and end-of-life recycling. Full EVs result in 19-34% lower emissions for sedans and 38-49% for SUVs compared to conventional vehicles, even with fossil-fuel-dominated energy mix in India.

Challenges in Transitioning to Electric Mobility

  • Fast-Charging Infrastructure: Successful transition requires fast-charging infrastructure along highways to alleviate range anxiety and encourage full EV adoption.
  • Grid Access and Reliability: Many regions lack access to a reliable grid, posing challenges for slow and fast-charging capabilities.
  • Vehicle Costs: Mass-market EV prices are much lower in economically developing countries, hindering widespread adoption due to high battery costs.

Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid EVs: Decarbonizing the Interim

  • Hybrid EVs present an opportunity to lower emissions until full EVs become viable options in the long term.
  • Plug-in hybrids, with their all-electric range, offer many benefits, reducing fuel costs, emissions, and oil imports.
  • Regenerative braking and engine start-stop mechanisms improve fuel economy in hybrid EVs.
  • Hybrid cars’ purchase price is only slightly higher than conventional vehicles, irrespective of the vehicle range.


  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles serve as a bridge to the net-zero future, offering a practical and efficient solution for economically developing countries.
  • While full EVs are the ultimate goal, the adoption of hybrid and plug-in hybrid EVs can significantly reduce emissions and fuel costs in the interim.
  • A coordinated effort to address infrastructure challenges and enhance grid reliability will pave the way for a sustainable transition towards a net-zero mobility landscape powered by renewable energy sources.

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