In the study “The concept of efficiency in the climate policy debate on road traffic” by the consulting firm Frontier Economics on behalf of the associations MWV and UNITI, the total energy balance of battery-electric drives and synthetic fuels was considered on the basis of an overall efficiency comparison.

In conventional analysis, the efficiency of the direct use of green electricity in battery electric cars is rated at 70 percent. In the holistic analysis by Frontier Economics, this number shrinks to 13 to 16 percent and is therefore on the same scale as vehicles with internal combustion engines running on renewable fuels. Overall, their total efficiency is 10 to 13 percent, depending on the scenario.

© Frontier Economics

The efficiency was re-examined, since conventional analysis completely masks the yield difference of wind and solar systems. However, these are very high depending on the location. A wind generator in North Africa can generate around 40 percent more electricity than a comparable site in Germany. This higher electricity yield can be used in road traffic by importing hydrogen or synthetic fuels to Germany. Battery electric vehicles, on the other hand, are largely dependent on renewable electricity from domestic production.

The import capability of electricity-based fuels can therefore offset the often-cited efficiency advantage of battery-electric cars and make it possible to use high-yield locations worldwide for the production of wind and solar power.

Especially with regard to the Paris climate goals and the outlook that by 2030 there will probably be 35 million cars with combustion engines on the roads in Germany, a future-oriented climate policy is required that uses all climate-compliant technology paths to defossilize road traffic and includes all future procurement options for renewable energies.

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