Comprehensive efficiency of technologies in the transport sector in Germany

Comprehensive efficiency of technologies in the transport sector in Germany

The energy efficiency of a technology has become an important factor in current debates about how to reduce emissions from transport.

Conventional studies about the efficiency of electric mobility and renewable fuels often show that the technical efficiency of battery electric driven vehicles is higher. These studies often neglect important parameters that would be required to ensure an appropriate and comprehensive comparison.

Against this background, MWV and UNITI commissioned Frontier to carry out a comprehensive efficiency analysis that considers all stages of generation and energy conversion. The study shows that the total energy used by vehicles with an internal combustion engine powered by climate-neutral fuels is similar to battery electric vehicles.

Conventional efficiency comparisons often assume a purely domestic electricity supply for both battery-electric vehicles and for the production of synthetic fuels. These comparisons exclude the availability of large quantities of solar and wind energy worldwide. An average solar plant in Germany, for example, will only produce around 40% of the electricity that a similar plant in North Africa would produce per year. This increased electricity yield per plant could be used to generate low carbon synthetic fuels for use in road transport in Germany.

Future- climate policy in the transport sector should take into account the availability of low carbon electricity production around the world and remain open to any technology that meets the climate targets.  This will require changes to existing legislative frameworks in Germany and at a European level. These changes should be implemented soon given the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transport. 

Click here to read the study in full and here to read a summary presentation. Furthermore, you can find an in-depth explanation of our methodological approach here.  

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The concept of efficiency in the German climate policy debate (EN/DE)