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Zero-emissions vehicle

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Title: Zero-emissions vehicle  
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Subject: Who Killed the Electric Car?, Fuel cell vehicle, Electric car, Battery electric vehicle, Electric bicycle
Collection: Appropriate Technology, Emission Standards, Sustainable Transport, Zero-Emissions Vehicles
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Zero-emissions vehicle

The Tesla Model S electric car is a zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) declared 2013 World Green Car of the Year.[1]

A zero-emissions vehicle, or ZEV, is a vehicle that emits no [7]


  • Terminology 1
    • Well-to-wheel emissions 1.1
  • Types of zero-emission vehicles 2
  • Incentives 3
    • Subsidies for public transport 3.1
    • Subsidies for development of electric cars 3.2
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The Indian REVA electric car is a zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) sold in India, several European countries, Japan, Australia, and Costa Rica
The Honda FCX Clarity, launched in 2008, is a fuel cell hydrogen vehicle compliant with the ZEV standard and sold in Japan and in the U.S. (only in Los Angeles)

Well-to-wheel emissions

The term zero-emissions or ZEV, as originally coined by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), refers only to tailpipe pollutants from the onboard source of power. Therefore, CARB's definition is accounting only for pollutants emitted at the point of the vehicle operation, and the clean air benefits are usually local because depending on the source of the electricity used to recharge the batteries, air pollutant emissions are shifted to the location of the electricity generation plants.[8]

In a similar manner, a zero-emissions vehicle does not emit greenhouse gases from the onboard source of power at the point of operation, but a well-to-wheel assessment takes into account the carbon dioxide and other emissions produced during electricity generation, and therefore, the extent of the real benefit depends on the fuel and technology used for electricity generation. From the perspective of a full life cycle analysis, the electricity used to recharge the batteries must be generated from renewable or clean sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, or nuclear power for ZEVs to have almost none or zero well-to-wheel emissions.[8][9] On the other hand, if ZEVs are recharged from electricity exclusively generated by coal-fired plants, they produce more greenhouse gas emissions than if not.[10]

Other countries have a different definition of ZEV, noteworthy the more recent inclusion of greenhouse gases, as many European rules now regulate carbon dioxide CO2 emissions. CARB's role in regulating greenhouse gases began in 2004 based on the 2002 Pavley Act (AB 1493), but was blocked by lawsuits and by the EPA in 2007, by rejecting the required waiver. Additional responsibilities were granted to CARB by California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), which includes the mandate to set low-carbon fuel standards.[8]

As a result of an investigation into false advertising regarding "zero-emissions" claims, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK ruled in March 2010 to ban an advertisement from Renault UK regarding its "zero-emissions vehicles" because the ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Code rules 5.1.1, 5.1.2 (Misleading advertising) and 5.2.1 (Misleading advertising- Evidence) and 5.2.6 (Misleading advertising-Environmental claims.)[11]

Greenhouse gasses and other pollutant emissions are generated by vehicle manufacturing processes. The emissions from manufacture are many factors larger than the emissions from tailpipes, even in gasoline engine vehicles. Most reports on ZEV's impact to the climate do not take into account these manufacturing emissions.[6][7]

Considering the current U.S. energy mix, a ZEV would produce a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.[12][13][14] Given the current energy mixes in other countries, it has been predicted that such emissions would decrease by 40% in the U.K.,[15] and 19% in China.[16]

Types of zero-emission vehicles

The Nissan Leaf electric car is a zero emission vehicle (ZEV) that was launched in the Japan and the U.S. in December 2010

Apart from animal-powered and human-powered vehicles, battery electric vehicles (which include cars, aircraft and boats) also do not emit any of the above pollutants, nor any CO2 gases during use. This is a particularly important quality in densely populated areas, where the health of residents can be severely affected. However, the production of the fuels that power ZEVs, such as the production of hydrogen from fossil fuels, may produce more emissions per mile than the emissions produced from a conventional fossil fueled vehicle.[17] A well-to-wheel life cycle assessment is necessary to understand the emissions implications associated with operating a ZEV.

Other zero emission vehicle technologies include plug-in hybrids (e.g. ICE/electric battery) when in electric mode, some plug-in hybrids in both recharging and electric mode (e.g. fuel cell/electric battery, compressed air engine/electric battery), liquid nitrogen vehicles, hydrogen vehicles (utilizing fuel cells or converted internal combustion engines), and compressed air vehicles typically recharged by slow (home) or fast (road station) electric compressors, flywheel energy storage vehicles, solar powered cars, and tribrids.

Segway Personal Transporters are two-wheeled, self-balancing, battery-powered machines that are eleven times more energy-efficient than the average American car. Operating on two lithium-ion batteries, the Segway PT produces zero emissions during operation, and utilizes a negligible amount of electricity while charging via a standard wall outlet.[18]

Finally, especially for boats (although Wind-powered land vehicles operating on wind exist (using wind turbine and kite) and other watercraft, regular and special sails (as rotorsails, wing sails, turbo sails, skysails exist that can propel it emissionless. Also, for larger ships (as tankers, container vessels, ...), nuclear power is also used (though not commonly).


Subsidies for public transport

Japanese public transport is being driven in the direction of zero emissions due to growing environmental concern. Honda has launched a conceptual bus which features exercise machines to the rear of the vehicle to generate kinetic energy used for propulsion.

Due to the stop-start nature of idling in public transport, regenerative braking may be a possibility for public transport systems of the future. After all, public transport costs councils money, so money well spent on saving fuel is money saved.

Subsidies for development of electric cars

In an attempt to curb carbon emissions as well as noise pollution in South African cities, the South African Department of Science & Technology (DST), as well as other private investments, have made US$5 million available through the Innovation Fund for the development of the Joule. The Joule is a five-seater car, planned to be released in 2014.[19]

See also


  1. ^ PRNewswire (2013-03-28). "And Now There Is One.... Tesla Model S Declared 2013 World Green Car".  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Christine & Scott Gable. "What is a ZEV - Zero Emissions Vehicle?". Hybrid Carts & Alt Fuels. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  4. ^ Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center. "Alternative & Advanced Vehicles: Pollutants and Health". Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy,  
  5. ^ "Existing Coal Map - Beyond Coal - Sierra Club". Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Mike Berners-Lee. "Manufacturing a car creates as much carbon as driving it". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Calculating the real carbon footprint of vehicles". Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c  
  9. ^  
  10. ^ Palm, Erik (2009-05-01). "Study: Electric cars not as green as you think | Green Tech - CNET News". Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  11. ^ ASA Adjudication on Renault UK Ltd
  12. ^ "Plug-in Hybrid Cars: Chart of CO2 Emissions Ranked by Power Source". TreeHugger. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Electric Power Monthly -Table 1.1. Net Generation by Energy Source". Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  15. ^ "Less CO2". My Electric Car. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  16. ^ "McKinsey Greater China" (PDF). Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "MIT study: Hydrogen car no environmental panacea". EurekAlert!. 10 March 2003. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  18. ^ Whitepaper "The Role of the Segway PT in Emissions Reduction"
  19. ^ "Environmental Topics & Sustainable Development". Retrieved 30 May 2015. 

External links

  • Official California site on ZEVs and PZEVs
  • 2006 Scientific American article - (dead link)
  • Reasons to buy an electric car in 2013
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