The electric con
Is electromobility the solution to all our problems? Once it has established itself across the board, as people on all sides like to maintain, it will be the saviour in the fight against climate change. After all, electric cars are thought of as zero emission vehicles. Dieter Teufel, Manager of the charitable Environment and Forecasting Institute from Heidelberg, sees things very differently: “Electric cars are not included in the calculations at their real emission levels but with supposed zero emissions.”
The CO2 emissions caused by generating the electricity are not taken into account, he notes. And for a good reason from the perspective of the car industry, as Teufel states: One zero emissions vehicle makes up for seven heavy SUVs in the calculation of fleet emissions, he says, thereby saving the car manufacturers from the fate of paying fines for exceeding EU guidelines. We have the lobby work of the German car industry to thank for this state of affairs, he claims.
For Teufel, there is a further problem in the complete penetration of the market by electromobility: “Although we have built a lot of photovoltaic systems and wind turbines in Germany in the last ten to 15 years, this regenerative electricity essentially just replaces the nuclear power plants that are being switched off.” This will remain the case until 2030, he notes, meaning that the electricity generated for electric cars comes from black coal and brown coal with high CO2 emissions. This means that in the overall calculation including the production of the vehicles and above all the batteries, an electric car is just as harmful as a petrol-driven or diesel car, he concludes.