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Study: Natural gas vehicles have a better carbon footprint than e-cars
In terms of CO2 emissions, electric cars theoretically have a head start on conventionally powered vehicles. But according to a study, electric vehicles are not yet able to exploit their potential in practice – at least not in germany.
Companies on the topic
Electric cars have great potential in terms of CO2 emissions – but in Germany they are still less climate-friendly than natural gas-powered vehicles. This is at least the conclusion of a study by the research company joanneum research, in which ADAC was also involved.
The scientists examined the carbon footprint of a vehicle in the Golf class with gasoline, diesel, natural gas and electric drive systems. An annual mileage of 15.000 kilometers, the total service life was 15 years.
To determine the climate impact, different energy expenditures are considered. This would include greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle production and recycling. According to the authors of the study, the emissions generated during the production, provision and consumption of fuel and electricity were also included in the balance sheet.
According to the evaluation, an electric car that runs on electricity in this country has only been used after 219.000 kilometers driven or 14.6 years of operation, a better carbon footprint than a current diesel. The electric car overtakes a gasoline-powered vehicle after 127 kilometers.500 kilometers or. 8.5 years of operation. A battery car will not be able to compete with a natural gas car within 15 years – as things stand today.
Energy transition as a prerequisite for e-car success
According to the authors, the main challenges facing e-cars are as follows:
- The costly production of the battery, which already carries a high "greenhouse gas backpack
- The still high greenhouse gas emissions of the german electricity mix
The balance would be different if electric cars could "fill up" with 100 percent renewable electricity. In that case, according to the researchers, they would be on the road after just 37 years.500 kilometers more climate-friendly than gasoline-powered vehicles. Diesel models would outperform the stromer after 40.500 kilometers collect, natural gas cars after 48.000 kilometers. It can be concluded that electric cars can only improve CO2 emissions in the transport sector if germany makes progress with the energy transition.
Hydrogen as an alternative
The study also sees hydrogen-powered cars as an alternative. Fuel cell vehicles (using hydrogen from renewable sources) would have the potential over their life cycle to achieve a similar balance as e-cars running on 100 percent green electricity.
The environmental impact of electric cars is controversial. Numerous studies have come to different conclusions. Similar results to the evaluation described here were recently communicated by volkswagen, for example. According to the wolfsburg experts, an electric car in Germany is still slightly less CO2-efficient over its life cycle than a diesel. In norway, on the other hand, where there is significantly more green electricity in the mix, an electric car is already better, according to VW’s head of sustainability, ralf pfitzner. In an interview with "kfz-betrieb" in march, pfitzner said: "the energy turnaround is not yet progressing fast enough in germany. Electromobility only makes sense if the energy transition also works."