Study: CO2 reduction targets require diversity in drive technology

November 03, 2020 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Study: CO2 reduction targets require diversity in drive technology
In the discussion on how to achieve the climate targets, the German engineering association VDI has taken the floor. The engineers warn against focusing development efforts exclusively on battery electric drives. Instead, they say, a comprehensive consideration of all factors is required, including production.

A study presented by the VDI on the life cycle assessment of cars with different drive systems shows that the current focus on a single drive technology, which is being pushed by large parts of industry and politics, is rather counterproductive for the environment. According to the engineers' analysis, all drive technologies, including the fuel cell, still offer great potential to make a significant contribution to reducing the CO2 emissions of mobility. "A complementary cooperation of technologies is our only chance to achieve the CO2 targets for 2030", VDI President Volker Kefer summarises the result. "We support the promotion of alternative technologies", said Kefer. ""However, it is important for us not to rely solely on battery vehicles, but also to further strengthen the fuel cell and modern combustion engines with more environmentally friendly fuels such as gas or synthetic fuels. "Only if these energy sources are produced on a renewable basis can all technologies help to improve the environmental balance," said energy expert Ralf Marquard, one of the co-initiators of the study.

If the entire value-added chain is taken into account, it becomes clear that modern vehicles with combustion engines today are often even less polluting than electric vehicles, according to the study. Battery electric drives suffer from the current high energy and material consumption in production. "Successful and energy-saving battery recycling is the key to success here, and it is imperative to promote this, as it is not currently practised on an industrial scale," says Marquard. This is an essential element in significantly improving the environmental balance of the vehicles.

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