August 15, 2022

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E-drive lags behind e-fuel in terms of sustainability

Compared to conventional fuels, e-fuels offer few sustainability benefits. (Photo: Adobe Stock / Fovito)

This is the result of a study conducted by the expert group Transport and the environment (T&E) Posted. T&E is an umbrella organization of 53 European NGOs working for sustainable transport, including the Transport Club Germany.

The study calculated the full life cycle emissions of cars purchased in 2030, including manufacturing and operation. A car that runs on a mixture of e-fuel and gasoline will reduce its emissions by only five percent compared to conventional fuel. On the other hand, a battery-powered electric vehicle and electric motors only may cause 78 percent fewer emissions during its life cycle than a combustion engine. The arithmetic basis for the CO2 footprint in the manufacture and operation of battery cars was the average electricity mix in the European Union, projected for 2030.

Sustainable e-fuels are also worse off

The analysis shows that even a purely electronic fuel car produced with renewable electricity will emit more during its life cycle than an electric car. An electric car will be 53 percent cleaner than a synthetic fuel internal combustion engine. This is mainly due to losses in e-fuel production and inefficient combustion engine.

According to the analysis, the battery-powered Volkswagen engine runs five times as much renewable energy as the e-fuel Volkswagen Golf. The BMW i4 can drive six times further than the BMW 4 Series with a combustion engine.

Thus T&E has opposed the advocates of synthetic electronic fuels, who are fighting against the complete phase-out of the combustion engine. They see the use of e-fuels as a viable alternative, especially for areas that do not have enough green electricity to operate and without sufficient income to purchase new e-cars. For example, the FDP refuses to ban the sale of new cars with combustion engines from 2035 at the EU level. Liberals want that too After 2035, vehicles with combustion engines can be newly registered if they can be shown to run on electronic fuel only.

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