Perhaps the management of the brand Volkswagen doesn’t believe it as much as Elon Muskbut there is no doubt that she is trying to prove herself absolutely committed to the electrical transition. The group’s CEO, Herbert Diess, is active on every social channel to speak highly of electric cars, and the fully battery-powered models available in the list are increasing. What is missing to complete the electric transition, according to Volkswagen, it’s a little more awareness; while public opinion seems more to consider the price as the first major obstacle to the purchase of certain cars.
For the Wolfsburg manufacturer, however, the ‘scientific’ advantages of the electric are still evident. To show them, Volkswagen sought the advice of Maximilian Fichtner, an internationally renowned expert on battery technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and Christian Bauer, a researcher at the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI). Their considerations give electric cars the primacy on several aspects.
First of all, electric cars would use energy better: 70% of the energy generated reaches the wheels. In the case of hydrogen this value stands at 15-18%, for current combustion engines at 20-24% and for synthetic fuels at 5-8%. According to Volkswagen, hydrogen goes through a laborious process of production, transport and conversion before reaching the fuel cells of the car, and all of this results in a high loss of energy. In the case of synthetic fuels, 162 kWh of electricity are needed to produce 6 liters of e-Diesel, which is enough to travel 100 km (considering an average consumption of 6l / 100 km). “With the same amount of energy, an electric car can travel 1,000 kmFichtner recalled.
Regarding autonomy, the current electric would already be suitable for everyday use. And technological progress should also intervene in a massive way, thanks to the optimization of cells, batteries and energy management, in addition to the arrival of solid state batteries. This is coupled with the lower footprint in terms of CO2 emissions, with greater sustainability than primordial electric cars. “Compared to combustion cars, electric cars require even more energy for production. But if green electricity is used, the gap is compensated after a few tens of thousands of kilometers“Said Bauer.
VW also recalls that electric cars avoid or reduce local emissions, in terms of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and also noise. Furthermore, the total transition to electricity would significantly reduce the energy needs of the transport sector, thanks to the high energy efficiency of electric traction. Based on 2018 data, Fichtner estimates energy savings of over 75% in the transport sector if all 48 million cars in the German fleet became full-electric. This is related to the fact that electric cars require the generation of less energy. Conversely, a complete transition to hydrogen would increase demand by a third.
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