How sustainable is electric mobility? A comprehensive sustainability assessment approach for the case of Qatar
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Electric mobility is a trending topic around the world, and many countries are supporting electric vehicle technologies to reduce environmental impacts from transportation such as greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in cities. While such environmental impacts are widely studied in the literature, there is not much emphasis on a comprehensive sustainability assessment of these vehicle technologies, encompassing the three pillars of sustainability as the environment, society, and economy. In this study, we presented a novel comprehensive life cycle sustainability assessment for four different support utility electric vehicle technologies, including hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and full battery electric vehicles. A hybrid multi-regional input-output based life cycle sustainability assessment model is developed to quantify fourteen sustainability indicators representing the three pillars of sustainability. As a case study, we studied the impacts for Qatar, a country where 100% of electricity generation is from natural gas and have a very unique supply-chain, mainly due to a wide range of exported products and services. The analysis results showed that all-electric vehicle types have significant potential to lower global warming potential, air pollution, and photochemical oxidant formation. A great majority (above 90%) of the emissions occurs within the region boundaries of Qatar. In the social indicators, internal combustion vehicles performed better than all other electric vehicles in terms of employment generation, compensation of employees, and taxes. The results highlighted that adoption of electric vehicle alternatives doesn't favor macro-economic indicators and they have slightly less for a life-cycle cost. The proposed assessment methodology can be useful for a comprehensive regionalized life cycle sustainability assessment of alternative vehicle technologies and developing regionalized sustainable transportation policies worldwide.