The German technical motor journal MTZ has today published an interview with Dr David Bothe, Associate Director at Frontier, about a meta-study Frontier recently carried out on behalf of the Research Association for Internal Combustion Engines (FVV). The study analyses life-cycle assessments of different powertrain technologies, as explored in 80 international studies.
In the interview David and Dietmar Goericke (Managing Director of the FVV) classify the results and explain what lessons can be learned for research and development.
David highlights several key findings of the study:
- For the selection of a powertrain technology that will be CO2-neutral in the long term, it is absolutely essential to carry out a global, cross-sectoral analysis of the entire life cycle of vehicles. Otherwise the data is not meaningful enough to make the right choice.
- There is currently no superior technology: All the powertrain options (combustion engines and electric drives) have a similar level of emissions over their entire life cycle.
- CO2-neutral mobility can be achieved by using a wide range of different technology options. Policy should allow for and promote this variety of technologies and ensure that the competition between the technologies is fair, in particular across the different applications and areas. This will enable the technology that is most efficient in terms of CO2 to become most widely used.
- We have to consider the return on investment: We have a global total CO2 budget available before we reach the 1.5 °C limit for global warming. We need to work out how we can make the best use of this budget to create a CO2-neutral economy. Solutions based on existing infrastructures will play a particularly important role. In the transport sector these include, for example, liquid fuels, where the infrastructure is already in place and we do not need to generate CO2-emissions to build a new one.
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