Cost-effectiveness of alternative powertrains for reduced energy use and CO2 emissions in passenger vehicles

Justin D.K. Bishop, Niall P.D. Martin, Adam M. Boies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This work analysed the cost-effectiveness of avoiding carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions using advanced internal combustion engines, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles across the nine UK passenger vehicles segments. Across all vehicle types and powertrain groups, minimum installed motive power was dependent most on the time to accelerate from zero to 96.6km/h (60mph). Hybridising the powertrain reduced the difference in energy use between vehicles with slow (t z - 60 > 8 s) and fast acceleration (t z - 60 < 8 s) times. The cost premium associated with advanced powertrains was dependent most on the powertrain chosen, rather than the performance required. Improving non-powertrain components reduced vehicle road load and allowed total motive capacity to decrease by 17%, energy use by 11%, manufacturing cost premiums by 13% and CO2 emissions abatement costs by 15%. All vehicles with advanced internal combustion engines, most hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains reduced net CO2 emissions and had lower lifetime operating costs than the respective segment reference vehicle. Most powertrains using fuel cells and all electric vehicles had positive CO2 emissions abatement costs. However, only vehicles using advanced internal combustion engines and parallel hybrid vehicles may be attractive to consumers by the fuel savings offsetting increases in vehicle cost within two years. This work demonstrates that fuel savings are possible relative to today's fleet, but indicates that the most cost-effective way of reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is by advanced combustion technologies and hybridisation with a parallel topology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-61
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014


  • Carbon dioxide emissions abatement costs
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Vehicle energy use
  • Willingness-to-pay


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