The environmental and financial implications of expanding the use of electric cars: A Case study of Scotland

George Milev, Astley Hastings, Amin Al-Habaibeh* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


This paper investigates the expansion of electric cars and their impact on the environment and the user; assuming a future scenario where all of the light-duty vehicles that use an internal combustion engine will be replaced by electric cars in Scotland. The idea is to investigate the impact on the environment and the financial effect on the user. The methodology is based on analysing the most common electric and conventional vehicles to estimate the amount of additional electricity that would be needed to charge that expansion. The paper has also looked at the running costs. The results show that approximately 4 GWh per annum of additional electricity will be needed to compensate for such growth in electricity demand. With the rise in electricity production, the amount of carbon emissions from the electrical grid is expected to increase slightly by 0.47 megatons CO2 per annum. Given that the carbon dioxide generated by the light internal combustion vehicles at the moment is 3.6 megatons of CO2 per year, it is concluded that the total amount of greenhouse gases from the electricity grid will decrease by circa 33.7% if all conventional cars in Scotland are replaced by electric cars. The initial cost of an electric car is found to be higher than conventional diesel or petrol one, but in the long term, the cost to power an electric vehicle is expected to be much cheaper. However, electric cars still have their own drawbacks as they need significant time to be charged, and will consume significant energy for heating the interior and windscreens to prevent condensation in cold weather leading to an estimated reduction in range of approximately 28% in some situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-213
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy and Built Environment
Issue number2
Early online date12 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank DTA3 COFUND H2020/Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD Fellowship programme for partially funding this research work (Grant Agreement Number: 801604).


  • Electric
  • cars
  • Vehicles
  • Enviroment
  • Emissions
  • Carbon
  • Scotland
  • Energy


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