Current hybrid-electric powertrain architectures: Applying empirical design data to life cycle assessment and whole-life cost analysis

Timothy W Hutchinson, Stuart C Burgess, Guido Herrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)
1041 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The recent introduction of hybrid-electric powertrain technology has disrupted the automotive industry, causing significant powertrain design divergence. As this radical powertrain innovation matures, will hybrid vehicles dominate the future automotive market and does this represent a positive shift in the environmental impact of the industry? The answer to this question is sought within this paper. It seeks to take advantage of the position that the industry has reached, replacing previous theoretical studies with the first extensive empirical models of life cycle emissions and whole-life costing. A comprehensive snapshot of today’s hybrid market is presented, with detailed descriptions of the various hybrid powertrain architectures. Design data has been gathered for 44 hybrid passenger cars currently available in the US. The empirical data is used to explore the relative life cycle greenhouse gas emissions and whole-life costing of different hybrid powertrain architectures. Potential dominant designs are identified and their emissions are shown to be reduced. However, both the emissions and economic competitiveness of different hybrid powertrains are shown to vary significantly depending on how the vehicle is used.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-329
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Energy
Volume119
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Hybrid powertrain architectures
  • Dominant designs
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Whole-life costing

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