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Appraisal of electric vehicle retrofit for transport decarbonisation within agriculture: whole system approach

Dattero-Snell, Dominic 2023. Appraisal of electric vehicle retrofit for transport decarbonisation within agriculture: whole system approach. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This research appraises electric vehicle retrofit as a pathway to support the decarbonisation of transport. This appraisal is conducted through a microscopic, mesoscopic, and macroscopic analysis of a central case study concerning the retrofit of internal combustion engine Land Rover Defender vehicles to electric. The vehicles studied are operating within the agricultural sector which is considered difficult to decarbonise. The use of three perspectives to investigate retrofit within the context of the central case study aims to establish a more holistic ‘whole system’ appraisal. This broader methodological approach was inspired by literature on socio-technical transitions and specifically the Multi-Level Perspective. The microscopic, mesoscopic, and macroscopic analyses of this research are presented across three technical chapters termed the bottom-up, middle-out, and top-down perspective. The bottom-up perspective appraises electric vehicle retrofit at the level of the individual vehicle and considers how an individual retrofitted vehicle is produced and could perform technologically and economically. The middle-out perspective investigates electric vehicle retrofit by considering how multiple retrofitted vehicles should be integrated into a wider context. For example, within the case study, the local agricultural environment, vehicle users, charging infrastructure, and energy system are considered. The top-down perspective evaluates electric vehicle retrofit at a broader policy measure for transport decarbonisation. Findings from the three perspectives of appraisal indicate that overall, electric vehicle retrofit could be a useful tool to aid the decarbonisation of certain categories of vehicles within the agricultural sector and other analogous sectors. Retrofitting vehicles to electric is useful to expedite the decarbonisation of vehicle models where an effective low emissions alternative is unavailable. Furthermore, retrofitting vehicles can form a more cost-effective method of decarbonisation where retrofit specification is personalised to a specific use case. The retrofitted Land Rover Defenders considered in this research exhibited similar energy consumption to a new electric vehicle in this particular case studies context and could significantly reduce the direct emissions of the original donor internal combustion engine Land Rover Defender. Considering the end user and operations of retrofitted vehicles on a case-by-case basis is paramount to increase the benefits of retrofitting. Finally, under more widespread adoption of electric vehicle retrofit across a population of vehicles, the flow of embodied emissions vehicles into landfill can be slowed (i.e., circularity is increased) through the remanufacture, reuse, recycling, and repurposing of vehicles. Although the potential for widespread adoption of retrofit would depend heavily on a number of underlying factors and dynamic causal relationships, for example, supportive policy conditions and the publics attraction to the pathway.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1) Transport Decarbonisation 2) Electric Vehicle Retrofit 3) Electric Vehicle Conversion 4) Land Rover Defender 5) Multi-Level Perspective 6) Agriculture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 May 2024
Last Modified: 21 May 2024 08:28

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