Low emission vehicle integration: Will National Grid electricity generation mix meet UK Net Zero?

Kathryn Grace Logan* (Corresponding Author), John Nelson, Astley Hastings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Assessing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced from electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen vehicles (HVs) requires understanding of the carbon intensity of electricity generation. Without the decarbonisation of electricity generation, environmental benefits of low emission vehicles (LEVs) will be diminished. The UK aims to produce net zero emissions by phasing out and banning the sale of new conventionally fuelled vehicles (CFVs) by 2035 in favour of LEVs. A comparison of the UK’s planned and future electricity production systems between 2020 and 2050 was conducted to analyse different vehicle-type mix scenarios: (1) 100% CFVs, (2 A/B) 100% EVs/HVs, (3 A/B) EVs/HVs integrated from 2035 and (4 A/B) EVs/HVs integrated from 2025 onward. This was conducted using four energy scenarios from the UK National Grid: two degrees, steady progression, consumer evolution and community renewables. This study does not consider the embedded carbon costs of the construction and decommissioning of vehicles. Results demonstrated that while the four electricity generation scenarios reduce the projected emissions they fail to achieve low emission targets. The two degree scenario produced the lowest level of emissions under each vehicle-type mix scenario. Technological improvements of CFVs are not enough to meet targets. Therefore, phasing out and banning the sale of new CFVs from 2025 (rather than 2035) would provide a stronger impetus to reduce transport emissions. Although these targets are possible, encouraging a change in transport modes from individual travel to public transport whilst simultaneously replacing buses and trains with electric or hydrogen alternatives would see a greater emission decrease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-175
Number of pages17
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

This research was undertaken as part of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) research programme under the ADdressing the Valuation of Energy and Nature Together (ADVENT) project. The authors would also like to thank Dr Christian Brand, University of Oxford, for giving them access to the Transport Energy and Air Pollution Model UK (TEAM - UK).

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, UK and the Natural Environment Research Council (grant number: NE/M019691/1).


  • Transport
  • Electric vehicles
  • energy policies
  • carbon dioxide
  • emissions
  • electricity generation
  • hydrogen vehicles


Dive into the research topics of 'Low emission vehicle integration: Will National Grid electricity generation mix meet UK Net Zero?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this