University of Calgary

Evaluating Environmental Benefits from Driving Electric Vehicles: The Case of Shanghai


Wei, F.
W. D. Walls
Zheng, X.
Li, G.


Replacing internal combustible engine vehicles with electric vehicles is the most direct pathway to decarbonize the transportation sector. This paper investigates the environmental benefits of electric vehicle adoption in Shanghai—China’s largest regional electric vehicle market. Using vehicle registration data and Well-to-Wheel analysis, we calculate the potential emissions reductions of carbon dioxide and air pollutants for each electric vehicle model sold in Shanghai in 2018. We find that electric vehicles have been over–subsidized: The average environmental benefit was less than one–fourth of the mean subsidy received. Environmental benefits were not distributed uniformly: About 80% of electric vehicle models generated less than 20% of the aggregate environmental benefits. We suggest three policy recommendations to improve the environmental benefits of electric vehicle adoption.
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