Open Access

The Environmental Performance of Traction Batteries for Electric Vehicles from a Life Cycle Perspective


The aim of this review article is the analysis of the results obtained from the scientific literature concerning all the phases that make up the life cycle of traction batteries for electric vehicles, in order to evaluate the associated environmental impact. In this regard, some scientific articles dealing with LCA studies concerning electric vehicles, with particular reference to batteries, will be examined. The revision of these articles will provide a general framework for the production, use and recycling phases of traction batteries. In particular, different parameters that influence the outcome of the LCA studies will be shown, parameters on which we can then act to improve the environmental impacts of the transition from internal combustion vehicles to electric mobility. These parameters are represented by the chemistry of the battery considered, aspect at the centre of the discussion, by the specific energy and efficiency of the battery pack, by the durability of the latter, but also by other aspects, such as the energy mix considered (both for the production phase, for the use phase and for recharging) and the functional unit chosen for the study, which determines a different approach, related to the analysis of a specific problem or aspect rather than another. Finally, the usefulness of the recycling practice and the related problems will be shown. In fact, the recycling must be perfected according to the battery chemistry in question to obtain benefits and better reduce environmental loads.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other