Mobility, Energy and Future Technologies
The introduction of electric vehicles into road traffic and other areas of transportation is an important part of sustainable energy and transportation policy. Vehicles with electric drive systems are eco-friendly and energy efficient and they offer the opportunity to use energy from renewable sources in the transportation sector. As well as making an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutant levels and noise pollution, they also reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Shifting transportation to rail, using bio-fuels or focusing on traffic avoidance measures will not be enough in order to meet the ambitious climate protection goals. Achieving the required reductions in CO2 and other pollutants will only be possible if electric vehicles make up a substantial percentage of all traffic.
There are a series of technological and organisational hurdles for electro mobility to overcome in order to achieve a comparable level of performance and market acceptance to combustion vehicles. Electric vehicles need innovative systems for storing, managing and utilising energy.
As ever, obtaining high capacity batteries with short charging times, a long product life and an affordable price is a significant challenge. Furthermore, the energy-intensive manufacturing process of the batteries is a major factor in the carbon balance of electric vehicles. As such, important areas for further action include making raw material extraction processes sustainable and environmentally friendly, pursuing innovations in cellular chemistry, improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes and developing viable concepts for recycling and reusing the batteries.
In order to obtain broad-based market acceptance, range distances must be increased, purchasing costs must be decreased and a differentiated range of vehicles must be available. An equally important factor is the comprehensive availability of high-performance charging facilities that are easy to use. It is therefore crucial that there is interoperability and that interfaces are standardised.
Alternative sources of energy have a vital role to play in supplying electric vehicles with energy. This does not simply involve supplying the energy for the vehicle when it is needed, but also involves improving the way that fluctuating energy sources (such as wind and solar power) are integrated into the energy networks.
We are mandated by various German federal and state ministries as the project management agency responsible for research and demonstration programmes in the area of electromobility. We also conduct concomitant and impact research as well as evaluations of funding programmes in the area of electric mobility. Our activities also include helping to run national and international conferences on electromobility, advising the European Commission and serving on the relevant committees of the European Commission. We are also active in industry networks in an advisory capacity.