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22. June 2020 | 11:03 CET

BMW, Daimler, Tesla, Volkswagen - Study proves big miscalculation for e-cars

  • E-cars

The renowned Kiel-based Institute for the World Economy (IfW) has published a study that is quite something. "Nowadays, electric cars run de facto on 100% coal-fired power," says IfW researcher Prof. Dr. Dr. Ulrich Schmidt, head of the Department of Social and Behavioral Economics Approaches to Solving Global Problems. "This is because the share of renewable energy in their electricity consumption is not available to displace fossil fuels elsewhere, and the increased demand for electricity requires the additional use of fossil fuels". Electric cars, which run on 100% carbon electricity and cause emissions of about 300 grams of CO2 per kilometer, whereas modern diesel vehicles emit only about 173 CO2 according to an ADAC study, cause considerable damage to the environment through the additional emission of greenhouse gases.

time to read: 2 minutes by Mario Hose


Electric cars damage the climate

The car manufacturers BMW, Daimler, Tesla and Volkswagen and the German government are facing the shattering of their cooperation or lack of understanding. Considering that the power supply in Germany currently consists of an energy mix and that the share of renewable energies is making only slow progress, every additional kilowatt hour will have to come from the conversion of fossil fuels into electricity.

Electric cars lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions according to the study, 73% of which are higher than modern diesel cars. It is more climate-friendly to use renewable energies to reduce the share of fossil fuels - especially coal - in the electricity mix than to use them to fuel electric cars. Why has no one thought about this yet? Good question.

Diesel engine before the Renaissance

"Only when the energy transition is well advanced and electricity is almost exclusively generated from renewable energies will the electric car be more climate-friendly than modern diesel vehicles," says Schmidt. Another statement is both logical and absurd: "Even if the car is powered by 'its own' solar energy (...), it would be more climate-friendly to feed it into the power grid and thus reduce the amount of coal-based electricity," the expert writes.

Estimates by the EU Commission still assume a share of fossil fuels of around 40% in 2050. The electric car as a climate-friendly vehicle will therefore remain an illusion for the foreseeable future, and the diesel engine may be facing a renaissance.

Hydrogen makes diesel greener

The phasing out of CO2-neutral nuclear energy in Germany is counterproductive for the roll-out of the electric car from a climate protection perspective. It remains exciting to see how this study will be dealt with in the coming days in the world of politics and business. Recently, the German government has passed further subsidies for electric cars, which obviously harm the climate more than diesel vehicles would do. So the topic of sustainability in the energy balance still has a lot of potential.

The Canadian company dynaCERT makes diesel green with an innovative hydrogen technology. A solution that is likely to become increasingly important in the future, as retrofit units lead to a reduction in fuel consumption and lower emissions of pollutants. A solution for now and today that uses hydrogen as a catalyst and generates it itself on board as needed.

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