Electric vehicles (EV), both as battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) have noteworthy potential to reduce global and local CO2 emissions. However, the fully exploitable potential depends on the actual vehicle kilometers travelled (VKT) that can be electrified. For BEV, the limited range excludes long-distance trips from electrification. For PHEV, long-distance trips are not excluded but the shorter electric driving range could reduce the miles electrified. The aim of the present paper is to compare the potential to electrify total VKT of BEV and PHEV. We use real-world driving data from several 780 German conventional passenger cars that are simulated as BEV and PHEV of different ranges. Furthermore, the CO2 emission reduction potential of both technologies and the influence of battery sizes are analyzed, by combining electrified kilometers with CO2 emission factors. We find PHEV to electrify more miles, both individual VKT as well as total VKT of the overall car fleet for given electric range. The difference in fleet electrification potential is maximal for about 30 km electric range. Compared to conventional vehicles both PHEV and BEV can significantly reduce well-to-wheel CO2 emissions when using renewable energies for recharging. The maximal reduction potential per vehicle is larger for PHEV and achieved at smaller range than for BEV.
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