A life cycle assessment of electric and conventional motorcycles in Taiwan

Main Presenter: Falk Schneider 

Co-Authors: Hsin-Tien Lin Daniel Castillo

Combustion driven motorcycles are an important mode of transportation, especially in Asia, where they contribute up to 60% of the total road traffic share. Given their small size and versatility, they help to ease congestion in dense urban centers while having a relatively low energy consumption in comparison to light passenger vehicles. Nonetheless, a share of the tailpipe emissions from combustion engine motorcycles has a toxic nature and present a considerable threat to human health. In recent years, electric motorcycles have been promoted extensively as a suitable solution to address the air quality issue without compromising well-being. However, despite the anticipated emission reduction in urban centers, a deeper understanding of the environmental impacts from conventional and electric motorcycles over their life cycle is still missing. To address this gap in knowledge, this study applied a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to both motorcycle types from a cradle-to-grave perspective.
Life cycle inventory data was obtained from the disassembly of a Gogoro S2 and a Sym Duke. The results show that the environmental burdens associated with electric motorcycles are highly related to the use of precious metals during the manufacturing process and electricity generation of the use phase, while the potential impacts of conventional motorcycles mainly respond to the fuel consumption during the use stage. The influence of sensitive parameters, electricity mixes and the indicator specific breakeven points between the two motorcycles will be discussed in detail at the conference.

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