Global climate change mitigation potential from a transition to electric vehicles

This paper investigates the potential for electric vehicles to contribute toward leading nations’ climate goals. The analysis is specifically designed to quantify the upper bound climate benefits from the most proactive governments meeting their long-term goals to decarbonize passenger vehicles with increased penetration of plug-in electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology. The analysis includes a cataloguing of existing national electric vehicle targets and consideration for plausible market growth for the new technology. In addition, the analysis includes a synthesis of data on future overall vehicle sales, vehicle activity, vehicle efficiency, and grid carbon emissions through 2050, with emphasis on the currently leading electric vehicle markets of China, Europe, and the United States. The analysis is focused exclusively on technology changes from increasing efficiency and increased uptake of electric vehicles in the light-duty vehicle fleet.