EU Science Hub

Electricity carbon intensity in European Member States: impacts on GHG emissions of electric vehicles

Abstract: 
The Well-To-Wheels (WTW) methodology is widely used for policy making in the transportation sector. In this paper updated WTW calculations are provided, relying on 2013 statistic data, for the carbon intensity (CI) of the European electricity mix; detail is provided for electricity consumed in each EU Member State (MS). An interesting aspect presented is the calculation of the GHG content of electricity traded between Countries, affecting the carbon intensity of the electricity consumed at national level. The amount and CI of imported electricity is a key aspect: a Country importing electricity from another Country with a lower CI of electricity will lower, after the trade, its electricity CI, while importing electricity from a Country with a higher CI will raise the CI of the importing Country. In average, the CI of electricity used in EU at low voltage in 2013 was 443 gCO2/kWh, which is the 18% less compared to 2009. Then, some examples of calculation of GHG emissions from the use of electric vehicles (EVs) compared to internal combustion engine vehicles are provided. The use of EVs instead of gasoline vehicles can save (about 50% of) GHG in all or in most of the EU MSs, depending on the estimated consumption of EVs. Compared with diesel, EVs show average GHG savings of around 40% and not savings at all in some EU MS.