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As e-mobility becomes increasingly popular around the world, the question of how climate-friendly electric powertrains really are continues to be the subject of controversial debate. That is because producing lithium batteries is very energy-intensive. A meta-study by the renowned International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has now provided some clarity on the matter. Electric cars are significantly better for the climate than vehicles with an internal combustion engine, producing between 28 and 72 per cent less of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide over a life cycle of 150,000 kilometres, according to the research institute’s findings. The ICCT study, quoted in the German news magazine “Der Spiegel”, reveals that an electric car becomes more climate friendly than a diesel or petrol vehicle after three years at the latest. “This advantage will increase when battery production and electricity sources become greener,” says Peter Mock from the ICCT.
The range of values is so great at the moment because the degree to which an e-car is climate friendly depends largely on where its batteries are produced and where it is charged. In Germany, which has a higher proportion of fossil energy sources, e-cars are currently less climate-friendly than in countries such as Norway and France. However, the growing share of renewable energies in electricity production will make these vehicles increasingly greener.
In addition, e-mobility and renewable energy production are spurring each other on, explains Ulrich Reiner, e-mobility expert in Hager Group’s Corporate Strategy department. “A vehicle battery can store about as much energy as an average household needs in a week. This means that, with e-vehicles, vast decentralised storage capacities are suddenly being made available.” In this way, the growing use of e-vehicles can noticeably balance out the natural fluctuations in renewable energy production. This is because, in future, more and more home-owners will have a battery in their garage or outside their front door in which, for example, energy generated by their own photovoltaic system can be stored. However, this requires a robust connection to a smart home-energy system. Static home batteries such as Hager Group’s E3DC storage system optimise the use of renewable energies even further.
“Home energy-management systems such as the ones we are developing at Hager Group work out an optimal charging plan speed with the e-vehicle,” explains Ulrich Reiner. Known as HEMS, these systems protect the home power network from overload and allow consumers to optimise their carbon footprint and their energy costs.
From this perspective, the growing popularity of e-mobility is excellent news: not only for the climate, but also for consumers. And Hager Group is busy working in this area.