VW ID.4 indirectly emits 114 g of CO2 per km, says the ADAC

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Doesn’t that make the car much more environmentally friendly than a diesel? One comment on a number worth discussing

VW ID.4 indirectly emits 114 g of CO2 per km, says the ADAC-NEDC values ​​of combustion cars

114 grams: This value recently shook us a little. It comes from the ADAC test of the VW ID.4. That should be the amount of CO2 that an ID.4 indirectly emits when it is driven with normal electricity from the German grid.

We removed the value from our report on the ADAC test results because we find that it distracts from the actual topic, and for us these are the interesting results on operation and driving behavior. The CO2 value has nothing to do with the ID.4 as such, but more to do with the generation of electricity, which still uses fossil fuels. We have given a few thoughts to whether such an indication is useful.

"The measured average consumption with charging losses: 22.8 kWh per 100 kilometers, which leads to a calculated CO₂ balance of 114 grams per kilometer according to the current German electricity mix and is good for the size of the vehicle. Those who use green electricity or their own photovoltaic system" refuel ", of course has a better CO₂ balance." (ADAC test report on ID.4)

The basis for the calculation is according to the PDF long version of the test A statement from the Federal Environment Agency for the reporting year 2021, according to which an average of 500 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour are currently generated in electricity production:

"The 22.8 kWh / 100 km results in a CO2 balance of 114 g per km (based on a German electricity mix of 500 g / kWh (value published by UBA in 2020, for the reporting year 2021)." (PDF version of the test )

[Addendum from May 14, 2021: Reader Steffen S. pointed out that the last value published by the Federal Environment Agency for CO2 emissions from electricity generation was 401 grams / kWh lay; this value is an extrapolation for 2019. This results in around 91 g / km for the VW ID.4.]

So everything is correct. As noted by the ADAC, you can only discuss whether the German electricity mix is ​​relevant if you only use green electricity or if the electricity comes from your own solar system. However: In the latter case, the self-generated electricity could also be added to German electricity production; after all, the electricity could also be fed into the grid.

[Addendum from May 20: Reader Sven B. points out that only wall boxes operated with 100 percent green electricity are eligible for funding. This means that many electric cars should be charged in a climate-neutral way, at least on the balance sheet.]

"The indication of the indirect CO2 emissions could lead to the reader comparing with the NEDC values ​​of combustion cars."

But we have another problem: The indication of indirect CO2 emissions should mean that many readers compare with the NEDC values ​​of combustion cars. A VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI with 150 PS and front-wheel drive, for example, emits 121 g / km, i.e. only six percent more. Some will think to themselves: "Well, then I’ll take the Tiguan and drive six percent less, that’s the same thing."

Reader Sven N. pointed out an important counter-argument: If you take into account the production of electricity in an electric car, shouldn’t you also take into account the production of fuel in a diesel car? Allegedly, not that little CO is produced in oil extraction, refining and transporting diesel2. After an apparently well-researched article you would then have to add around 24 percent to the NEDC figure, and the diesel Tiguan would end up at around 150 grams per kilometer (instead of 121).

In addition, a car is not bought for a year and the German electricity mix is ​​likely to shift more and more in the direction of renewable sources – due to the requirements of the Climate Protection Act and probably even more so due to higher CO2 prices on the stock exchanges, which are making coal more and more uneconomical as an energy source.

And something else. Even if the e-car has just as much CO2 emits like a combustion engine: isn’t the switch to electromobility still better? It’s like we’re in a boat with the water leaking in through two leaks. If I lock one of them, I have reduced the risk. To put it less graphically: In our opinion, it is better to treat the CO2 problems in the transport sector separately from those in electricity generation.

"Everyone should come back to his door,
and every city quarter is pure. "(J.W. v. Goethe)

In our opinion, the automotive industry would do well to switch to electromobility. If they waited until the electricity was produced in a climate-neutral way, a lot of time would be wasted. This time can be used to set up the charging infrastructure, optimize battery technology and solve raw material issues. Electromobility also helps to reduce CO2 emissions in the transport sector, where emissions have stagnated or even increased for years.

More about CO2: VW ID.4 indirectly emits 114 g of CO2 per km, says the ADAC-indirectly CO2 reduction: fleet target values ​​for 2021 should be low

VW ID.4 indirectly emits 114 g of CO2 per km, says the ADAC-indirectly Nine EU countries are demanding an end date for the internal combustion engine

But perhaps the ADAC should also be credited for drawing attention to the problem of electricity production that is not yet climate-neutral. In any case, he managed to get us to think about this topic again.

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