Ford Research Finds Greater Emissions Reductions for Truck Electrification
Ford recently showed the results of a new study by the auto company and the University of Michigan which concluded that using electric pickup trucks instead of combustion-powered models has a greater impact on greenhouse gas reductions than switching to other electric vehicles.
Ford’s research examined the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions produced by battery-operated pickup trucks compared to combustion-powered pickup trucks, and also the reductions for battery-powered sedans and SUVs compared to their gasoline-powered models. In every case, switching the gasoline-powered light-duty vehicles with their battery-operated alternatives lowered emissions by approximately 64 percent over the life of the vehicle.
The study concluded that while the percentage savings in emissions stayed about the same for every vehicle type, switching a gas-powered pickup truck with its battery-powered twin saved 74 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the vehicle. This is compared to 45 metric tons for a sedan and 56 metric tons for an SUV.
“This is an important study to inform and encourage climate action. Our research clearly [demonstrates how] substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions…can be achieved from transitioning to electrified powertrains across all vehicle classes,” said the research group’s senior author Greg Keoleian, a professor at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability and director of the U-M Center for Sustainable Systems.
Light-duty vehicles are responsible for about 58 percent of the U.S. transportation sector emissions, with pickup trucks accounting for 14 percent of light-duty vehicle sales in the United States in 2020.
“This study expands upon previous studies that have focused on comparing battery-electric vehicle sedans to their internal-combustion-engine or hybrid counterparts,” said Keoleian. “We report emissions for vehicle production, use, and end-of-life stages on a per-mile basis and over the total vehicle lifetime. In addition, we analyzed the regional variation in emissions considering differences in electricity grid mixes and ambient temperatures, and we also explored the effects of the rate of grid decarbonization on emission reduction.”
Ford’s researchers also discovered that while battery-operated vehicles have greater greenhouse gas emissions in their manufacturing than internal combustion engine vehicles due to battery production, the impact is overall offset by savings in their operation.