Carculator: decision support for car buyers
The Carculator compares the environmental performance of passenger cars. It determines the environmental balance of vehicles with different size classes and powertrains (battery electric, fuel cell, hybrid, etc.). The entire life cycle of each passenger car is considered, including the manufacturing of the vehicle and the environmentally relevant emissions from driving.
The webtool Carculator enables the calculation of the environmental impacts caused by passenger cars – over their entire life cycle. This means that the production of the vehicles, their operation and disposal are taken into account. It can be used to compare different types of cars: internal combustion engines that run on gasoline, diesel or natural gas, fuel cells that use hydrogen and also battery electric cars that are powered with electricity. And this in different vehicle categories from small cars to SUVs. It is also possible to look into the future – the comparison of environmental impacts is possible up to the year 2050, considering the expected technical progress in cars as well as in electricity and hydrogen production.
When using the webtool, a large number of settings can be defined, some of which have a major influence on the life cycle assessment of the cars: for example, the type of electricity supply, the type of hydrogen production, the storage capacity of the battery in the case of electric cars, in which country the cars are driven, the shares of biofuels, how long the cars are driven, etc. The comparisons can thus be customized. This means that the comparisons can be tailored to the respective car and driving behavior.
Not only greenhouse gas emissions are calculated, but also other environmental impacts such as pollutant emissions and land use. These results are presented in such a way that it is clear where the respective environmental impacts are caused within the life cycle – for example, as direct emissions from the exhaust or through the manufacture of the battery. In addition, it is immediately apparent after how many kilometers the larger ecological footprint caused by the production of battery and fuel cell cars is compensated compared to internal combustion vehicles.
Try it out yourself: https://carculator.psi.ch/
Research articles or reports related to the exhibit
- When, where and how can the electrification of passenger cars reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
- PRospective EnvironMental Impact asSEment (premise): A streamlined approach to producing databases for prospective life cycle assessment using integrated assessment models
- Life-cycle impacts from different decarbonization pathways for the European car fleet
- Environmental impact of passenger cars – today and tomorrow (in German)