Navigating Alternatives to the Old ICE by 2040

Transport & Environment (T&E) has conducted a comprehensive multi-criteria evaluation of alternatives to the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. As the world steers towards a greener future, the analysis focuses on options available to replace old ICE cars by the year 2040, assessing them against a mix of quantitative and qualitative criteria. The alternatives evaluated include scrapping ICE vehicles for mobility packages, purchasing new or used battery electric vehicles (BEVs), e-retrofitting existing ICE vehicles, and the transition to e-petrol fuels.
Rating matrix of alternatives to keeping an old ICE in 2040 title=
Source: Clean solutions for all: T&E’s car decarbonisation roadmap | Transport & Environment

Leading the pack is the concept of scrapping the ICE vehicle in favour of comprehensive mobility packages, including public transport and active mobility options. This alternative not only promises substantial reductions in lifecycle emissions and negligible air pollution but also requires a significant shift in consumer behaviour and enhanced infrastructure support from policymakers. The adaptability and minimal resource strain of this option underscore its potential as a sustainable mobility pathway, especially in well-connected urban areas.

The option of purchasing used BEVs stands out for its economic advantages, boasting the highest TCO scores alongside appreciable environmental benefits. However, concerns about the quality and performance of used vehicles, coupled with the limited scalability due to the finite size of the used car market, present challenges. This alternative emerges as a strategic choice for regions like Eastern Europe, where policies could facilitate the influx of affordable used BEVs.

The middle ground is occupied by purchasing new BEVs and e-retrofitting existing ICE vehicles. New BEVs offer a balanced profile of moderate lifecycle emissions and user acceptance, propelled by the expansion of charging infrastructure. Yet, the significant demand for raw materials for battery production casts a shadow over its environmental benefits. Conversely, e-retrofits provide a cost-effective solution with lower production emissions but face hurdles in scalability and driving range limitations.

At the bottom of the assessment is the transition to e-petrol for ICE vehicles. Despite its potential to mitigate CO2 emissions marginally, the high TCO, poor environmental performance, and significant scalability challenges render it the least favourable option. E-petrol’s reliance on intensive resource use for synthetic fuel production further diminishes its appeal as a sustainable alternative.

T&E emphasises that the suitability of each alternative varies by geographical and economic contexts. While mobility packages may thrive in areas with advanced transport infrastructure, new BEVs could find their niche in wealthier Western European markets. Similarly, used BEVs offer a pragmatic solution for Eastern Europe, where cost considerations are paramount. E-retrofits may evolve as a viable option as the industry matures, particularly before the anticipated decline in eligible vehicles post-2040.

The quest for sustainable mobility by 2040 demands a multifaceted approach, accommodating diverse user needs and regional capabilities. T&E’s evaluation underscores the necessity of strategic planning, policy support, and technological advancements to transition away from the ICE paradigm. As we navigate towards a greener future, embracing a mix of alternatives will be crucial in achieving an environmentally resilient and economically inclusive transportation ecosystem.

Source: Clean solutions for all: T&E’s car decarbonisation roadmap | Transport & Environment

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