The optimal lifespan of passenger cars based on the perspectives of resource use, emissions and traffic safety (BILLIV)

In order to reach Sweden’s set environmental goals, older passenger cars need to be replaced. But what exactly is a car’s optimal lifespan? The project “Optimum lifespan of passenger cars based on the perspectives of resource use, emissions and traffic safety” (Swedish abbreviation = BILLIV) will find out exactly this and is financed by the Swedish Transport Administration. The question is being investigated by Chalmers Industriteknik and IVL Swedish Environmental Institute.
Challenges and potential

In order for Sweden to become fossil-free by 2045 and reach the target level for the year 2030, electrification, the use of biofuels, more efficient vehicles and a new transport system are considered to be decisive factors. To speed up the transition to a more sustainable vehicle fleet of passenger cars, which is more energy efficient and mostly electric, it is important to create knowledge about the optimal time to replace obsolete cars from the right perspective. Chalmers Industriteknik and IVL The Swedish Environmental Institute are carrying out a project with the aim of investigating the optimal lifespan of passenger cars based on the perspectives of resource use, emissions and traffic safety, as well as highlighting potential measures to influence the aspects in a desirable direction.

Physical resources and emissions

The project begins by identifying factors that relate to the use of physical resources in a vehicle and emissions during manufacturing, use and the recycling phase. An optimal lifespan from a resource and emissions perspective is calculated through various models such as life cycle calculations and a balancing of different scenarios through sensitivity analyses.

Road safety and society

As technological development gives cars increasingly better passive and active road safety characteristics, expected effects on road safety because of changed lifespans are analysed. The project will also look at what types of control instruments could be used to influence the lifespan of cars, for example premature scrapping, and what effects this could have on the economy and car owners. The project’s results regarding the optimal lifespan of passenger cars are expected to create value for political decision-makers, private car owners, companies and the car industry, battery players, the recycling industry, and more.

Milestones of the project
  • Identification of factors with a significant impact on the optimal lifespan from a resource perspective
  • Identification of factors with a significant impact on the optimal service life from an emissions perspective
  • Calculation of the optimal lifespan from the perspective of resource use and emissions
  • Analysis of expected effects on road safety as a result of changed lifespans
  • Proposals for measures to influence factors for a desirable direction in terms of resources, emissions and safety
Reference group

BILLIV’s reference group includes: BIL Sweden, Bilretur & Cleanmotion, Chalmers Industriteknik, Swedish Life Cycle Center, Folksam and the Swedish Transport Agency.

Financier

The BILLIV project has received funding from the Swedish Transport Administration, which drives and finances research and innovation with the aim of building new knowledge and developing new solutions for a sustainable and accessible Sweden.

The project ran from February 2021 to October 2022.

Project partner

IVL The Swedish Environmental Institute is a stand-alone and independent research institute within the environment and sustainability that works with applied research and consultancy assignments.

 

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