Policy Analysis, Peer Reviewed: Battery-Powered Vehicles: Ozone Reduction versus Lead Discharges

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

California, Massachusetts, New York, and other states have required that 10% of the motor vehicles sold in 2003 be zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs). The primary justification for these mandates is the assumed improvement in local air quality. We examine the environmental implications of having 500,000 battery-powered vehicles (BPVs) in Southern California and another 500,000 in the New York City area. Peak ozone levels would decrease about 1 ppb in Southern California and less than 1 ppb in New York City. In contrast to the small ozone-related benefits from BPVs, the potential environmental problems are considerable. Mining, smelting, and recycling more than 500 kg of lead batteries per vehicle would result in environmental lead releases 80 times greater per vehicle mile than thOSG of a gasoline-powered vehicle with a current starter batterv Half a million lead-acid BPVs would increase national lead discharges to the environment by about 20% Mandating the introduction of large numbers of lead-acid batterv powered vehicles may result in adverse imDacts that are substantially lamer than the air quality benefits that will result




Published In

Environ. Sci. Technol., 30, 9, 402A-407A.