Ford, LG Chem Present Cradle-To-Gate GHG Analysis For Focus Electric

JUL 9 2016 BY MARK KANE 14

Cradle-to-gate GHG emissions for ICEVs and BEVs from different studies, including the current Ford/LG work. Credit: ACS, Kim et al. via Green Car Congress

Cradle-to-gate GHG emissions for ICEVs and BEVs from different studies, including the current Ford/LG work. Credit: ACS, Kim et al. via Green Car Congress

Ford Focus Electric

Ford Focus Electric

Ford’s Research and Innovation Center and LG Chem’s Corporate R&D released an interesting article recently

Cradle-to-Gate Emissions from a Commercial Electric Vehicle Li-Ion Battery: A Comparative Analysis

The main topic of the piece was a GHG emissions comparison between a conventional and all-electric Ford Focus, including battery pack production (cells and packs).

There is no big surprise that Ford Focus Electric will fares worse right out of the gate when it is produced (39% increase in the cradle-to-gate GHG emissions) as battery is a huge, heavy component in the car, which needs also a lot of energy to intially produce.

“We report the first cradle-to-gate emissions assessment for a mass-produced battery in a commercial battery electric vehicle (BEV); the lithium-ion battery pack used in the Ford Focus BEV.

The 2017 Focus Electric brings a long range battery featuring high density cells and a deeper lifecycle, which will improve GHG emissions statistics even further

The 2017 Focus Electric brings a long range battery featuring high density cells and a deeper lifecycle, which will improve GHG emissions statistics even further

The assessment was based on the bill of materials and primary data from the battery industry, that is, energy and materials input data from the battery cell and pack supplier. Cradle-to-gate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the 24 kWh Ford Focus lithium-ion battery are 3.4 metric tonnes of CO2-eq (140 kg CO2-eq per kWh or 11 kg CO2-eq per kg of battery). Cell manufacturing is the key contributor accounting for 45% of the GHG emissions. We review published studies of GHG emissions associated with battery production to compare and contrast with our results.

Extending the system boundary to include the entire vehicle we estimate a 39% increase in the cradle-to-gate GHG emissions of the Focus BEV compared to the Focus internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV), which falls within the range of literature estimates of 27–63% increases for hypothetical nonproduction BEVs. Our results reduce the uncertainties associated with assessment of BEV battery production, serve to identify opportunities to reduce emissions, and confirm previous assessments that BEVs have great potential to reduce GHG emissions over the full life cycle and provide local emission free mobility.”

But one of the main points to switching to BEVs is lowering total GHG emissions over the vehicle’s entire lifetime.  And in almost all cases, BEV emissions are much lower during actual driving.  Therefore, during an entire life cycle, the average BEV could bring 30−40% GHG emissions reduction.

“Despite their higher cradle-to-gate GHG emissions, switching from ICEVs to BEVs potentially saves a large amount of GHG emissions during their life cycle. Published studies have estimated approximately 30−40% life cycle GHG emissions reduction for BEVs powered by the average US or European electric grid mix.

Using our GHG estimate for BEV battery production, 11 kg CO2-eq/kg battery, in place of those in the literature gives an estimate of 31−37% life cycle GHG benefits for BEVs over gasoline ICEVs. Our results confirm the potential for BEVs to curb GHG emissions from the transportation sector.

Current trends of increasing vehicle energy efficiency, decreasing burdens associated with battery production, decreasing burdens for electricity production, and increasing burdens for oil production are expected to increase the GHG emission benefits of electrification technology. We highlight the importance of further LCA studies for BEVs using real world data to capture future improvements in vehicle performance and battery materials.”

Today's Ford Focus Electric utilizes a 24 kWh battery - new 2017 edition begins production in November

Today’s Ford Focus Electric utilizes a 24 kWh battery – new 2017 edition begins production in November

Ford Focus Electric battery (2016):

  • 24 kWh
  • 430 cells (produced by LG Chem in South Korea)
  • 3.7 V nominal cell voltage
  • 80 Wh/kg energy denisty

The 2017 Ford Focus Electric gets a range boost (up to ~100 miles) via a larger battery, so the lifetime GHG numbers should continue to improve – which is a main thing to also consider.

As battery technology improves, cell density and lifecycles improve, which will significantly improve GHG comparisons with conventional vehicles, as well as taking into account the GHG saving/value as batteries are re-purposed into energy storage solutions, such as the recent xStorage system introduced by Nissan in Europe.

source: Cradle-to-Gate Emissions from a Commercial Electric Vehicle Li-Ion Battery: A Comparative Analysis via Green Car Congress

Categories: Battery Tech, Ford, General

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14 Comments on "Ford, LG Chem Present Cradle-To-Gate GHG Analysis For Focus Electric"

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What would the comparison be like If the batteries are being produced at a gigasized factory getting most of its power from windmills and solar panels?

One flaw I’ve noticed in all of these LCA’s is how the ICE side has zero accounting for the engine itself and all the ancillary support systems (transmission, radiator, fuel tank, fuel pump, alternator, starter, catalytic converter, etc)

All that rubber, plastic, and metal have a “cradle” cost too that wouldn’t be born by their BEV equivalent!

+1
Absolutely right. Look at the “this study” graphs. If those are from the study,then it’s clear they are comparing a body in white for an ICE with a body in white plus battery for for the BEV. No way the nearly 1000lbs of ICE drivetrain equipment has neglible, if any, CO2 contribution. Mining, drilling, refining, transporting, melting, machining, etc have huge total energy costs.

I don’t have access to the paper, but, just looking at the chart, I disagree.

Looks like maybe a 500-600 kg difference (ICE heavier) in the “other” category, which sounds about right when you consider that the BIW and suspension of the BEV will be slightly heavier and the powertrain (less the battery) of the BEV will be lighter.

Also, it says “Extending the system boundary to include the entire vehicle…”. Kim is a car guy – he would not have said “entire vehicle” if he meant “body in white”.

You have that backwards, BEVs are always the heavier of the two. For instance the Fiat 500e weighs 600 pounds more than it’s ICE equivalent. BEV energy equivalent storage is about 3/4 of a gallon of gas, for a typical 24KWh battery.

EV’s have radiator(s), pumps, lots of copper, many have rare earth magnets, etc.etc. That would make it roughly similar to ICE parts.

What this survey lacks is life time of ICE vs EV. When the battery dies in EV (or hybrids) after warranty expires, it’s pretty much a junk car. People won’t spend thousands to fix a 10+ year old car, especially since people driving old cars tend to be poorer folks who can’t spend thousands in one time fee.

But on ICE, fixes usually come in few hundred dollar increments. While the total cost may be the same over time compared to EV having the battery replaced, it’s far more likely that ICE will be repaired and driven much longer than EV. You can sort of see this effect when you drive around and see plenty of 20+ year old cars, yet you hardly see any gen1 Prius.

Indeed, I junked my Prius rather than spend the money to replace the battery, even if I have the financial means. While EV might make sense for those who can afford to replace the battery, hybrids just don’t make sense when it has 12+ year old gas engine to worry about.

About a year ago, I saw an electric Toyota rav 4 in winter haven Florida and it was from the nineties.

An alternative and more amenable “cradle” analysis:

+1
Very entertaining guy.

I would like InsideEVs to kindly put the link to his web site when they write an article about FullyCharged.

Hey RexxSee,

Robert doesn’t have a website per se, other than a placeholder to his YouTube show, with maybe 4-5 blogs/news over the past couple years.

As it is a show based of YouTube, best to go direct to there and subscribe:
https://www.youtube.com/user/fullychargedshow

Even his social media only directs to YouTube:
https://www.facebook.com/FullyChargedShow

We just give as much exposure as we can to content on Robert’s YT (where the revenue for him is made), but if he had (or sets up in the future) a traditional active website that is looking for exposure first, we would be all over promoting that whenever we could. Really love his work, he puts a lot of time and effort into it!

I see the title to this piece mistakenly says “cradle to GRAVE (sic)”.

Should be fixed/explained. “Gate” presumably means “factory gate”.

Yes, that does seem like a bit of problem doesn’t it? We are so used to seeing “cradle to grave” as opposed to gate I totally missed that in the title in editing. My bad, apologies /fixed

I have full access to academic journals. If anyone desperately wants this paper, just email me at jhs529@york.ac.uk