VW: Electric cars have a better CO2 balance than combustion engines, v.a. with green electricity

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VW: Electric cars have a better CO2 balance than combustion engines, v.a. with green electricity-better

In the same vehicle models with different drives, the climate footprint of the battery-powered e-variants is already better than that of the corresponding vehicles with a combustion engine. In addition, the e-vehicles offer another high potential for CO2 savings in all phases of the product cycle.

In addition, it is of decisive importance for the CO2 emissions whether the drive energy is obtained from fossil or regenerative sources. This is the result of a certified “Life Cycle Assessment” (LCA) of the Volkswagen Golf, which compares the CO2 emissions of the various vehicle versions with electric motors and combustion engines.

Carbon dioxide emissions lower in electric cars

In summary, the current Golf TDI (diesel) emits an average of 140 g CO2/km over its entire life cycle, while the e-Golf electric car achieves a value of 119 g CO2/km.

It is clear that in vehicles with internal combustion engines, most of the emissions occur during the use phase, i.e. when the fossil fuel is made available and burned. The diesel achieves 111 g CO2/km here. A corresponding vehicle with an electric drive emits only 62 g CO2/km in this phase, which results from the provision of electricity alone.

During the use phase, however, the CO2 emissions depend on the sources of energy generation. They drop the more, the more regenerative energies are available. In contrast, the focus of emissions from battery-powered electric vehicles is in production. According to the LCA, a diesel achieves 29 g CO2/km here, while 57 g CO2/km were determined for a comparable electric vehicle. Responsible for this is the battery production and the complex extraction of the raw materials. Almost half of the CO2 emissions of the entire life cycle occur here.

“Life-Cycle-Assessment” as an instrument of holistic analysis

“Life Cycle Assessment” is a complex and time-consuming, internationally standardized procedure with which the ecological balance of vehicles is determined. Among other things, the carbon dioxide emissions are examined during all product stages of the automobile: The emissions generated during raw material extraction, component production and assembly flow into production. The usage phase includes both the emissions from the provision of fuel and electricity and, in particular, those from vehicle operation over 200.000 km. The recycling evaluates the dismantling and the savings potential through recycling.

With the findings from the “Life Cycle Assessment”, Volkswagen can derive additional emission-reducing measures for “Life Cycle Engineering” and specifically optimize the CO2 balance.

Further reduction of CO2 emissions planned in all product stages

Thanks to improvements in lithium-ion battery technology and optimizations in the supply chain, the amount of CO2 used to manufacture the batteries compared to the e-Golf and the first ID. model reduced by more than 25 percent per kilowatt hour (kWh) of battery capacity. When using regenerative energy, the reduction potential is almost 50 percent.

By far the greatest potential for reducing CO2 emissions arises from the origin of the energy during the usage phase. If the electricity for driving is obtained exclusively from regenerative sources, the CO2 emissions during the usage phase drop from 62 g CO2/km with the current EU electricity mix to just 2 g CO2/km.

Against this background, the VW Group subsidiary Elli has been offering customers and third parties Volkswagen Naturstrom, which comes exclusively from renewable energy sources, since the beginning of the year.

The recycling of the vehicle offers further opportunities to reduce CO2 emissions through the circular economy. A recycling pilot plant is currently being built at the Volkswagen location in Salzgitter. There, a new raw material (black powder) for the cathodes of new batteries is to be obtained from end-of-life batteries – i.e. batteries that no longer store sufficient energy due to aging. There is a potential of up to 25 percent here. However, the group does not expect significant returns of batteries for recycling on an industrial scale until the late 2020s.

CO2 reduction by 30 percent by 2025

The decarbonization index (DKI) records the average CO2 emissions of a Group vehicle over its life cycle. The DKI is measured in tons of CO2 equivalent per vehicle. In 2015, the value was 43.6 and, according to the Volkswagen Group’s target, is to fall by 30 percent by 2025.

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4 thoughts on “VW: Electric cars have a better CO2 balance than combustion engines, v.a. with green electricity”

  1. Think a little and you’ll figure it out. Just the energy to get fuel in the vehicle, look for deposits, test drilling, construction of conveyor systems, construction of transport routes. More. The vehicle itself, gearbox, cardan shaft, all the many missing parts, everything is gone. And then while driving, higher efficiency, I stand and consume nothing, I get energy back down the hill and much more. More.

  2. let’s be honest, crude oil is actually far too valuable to burn, if a rethink doesn’t take place soon, including the extreme overpopulation, it won’t be long before drilling begins in nature reserves, it’s not just “just” global warming only one problem

  3. When it comes to green electricity, it depends very much on the provider as to whether it really has a positive effect on the CO2 balance. There are providers who “wash clean” their coal electricity with certificates. There is not really less CO2 emitted, but certificates are bought from companies that have a better CO2 balance.

    But even if you choose a real green electricity provider, it does not mean that you are doing something positive. Electricity is a supplier market and even customers who choose the normal electricity tariff from their electricity provider receive a proportion of green electricity. If customers now switch to a green electricity provider, then this provider must obtain the green electricity from the market. So less green electricity remains in the electricity mix. The customers with normal electricity tariff simply get a smaller share of green electricity. A classic zero-sum game.

    So you should choose a provider who delivers real green power AND who uses the profits to build up new green power sources (solar, water, wind, etc.). Otherwise, changing to a green electricity tariff will do nothing.

  4. When looking at the product life cycle, the location’s CO2 balance is distributed over the number of units produced.

    As a result, the annual production figures for a diesel (Golf approx. 1.25 million.) with the numbers of an E-Golf (just under 14th in 2018).000 compared.

    So that this nonsense does not attract attention, comparative values are created artificially. (Production numbers of over 100.000 for the E-Golf).

    But even taking this comparative value into account, there is a disadvantage of >10 for the e-Golf!!!

    Translated, this means: In the balance of the CO2 food print, the location is overestimated by a factor of 10: For the e-Golf!

    When an e-Golf leaves the workshop, the backpack is comparable to a 1-liter organic vegetable foil bag, while the diesel has a 200-liter black bin on the hitch.

    Let’s wait another 2 years to see what “surprising” findings VW then gains from the comparison:

    If the I.D. with 300.000 a year rolls off the assembly line.


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