Germany, home of European brand cars Volkswagen, Porsche, and BMW, is aiming to become a global leader in developing low carbon vehicles. From less than 2,000 units, Germany is set to increase production of electric vehicles to 1 million by 2020 and 5 million by 2030. While greenhouse emissions in the country have dropped 21 percent since 1990, transportation-related emissions increased roughly 1 percent through 2005. Germany is aiming for a 40 percent emission reduction in the sector by 2020. To do this, plans of using electric vehicles are in place.
Making the Plan Work
According to its Environment Ministry, to realize its goal of becoming market leader in electric mobility, the German government will generate power for electrically driven vehicles from several primary energy sources. Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that this will help promote independence from oil imports and fluctuating oil prices. But then again this will not guarantee low-carbon transportation.
In Germany, one of the world leaders in renewable energy production, coal-fire powered plants are expected to supply at least 40 percent of its electricity in 2020. There is an ongoing debate as to how electric vehicles can best reduce emissions.
The Environment Ministry insisted on getting the electricity that will be used to charge plug-in vehicles exclusively from renewable energy sources. The ministry feels that the huge demand for electricity for the vehicles could increase overall German emissions.
Robert Janitzek reveals that placing strict limits on vehicle charging would mean that electricity providers would have to generate renewable energy from areas with large shares of electric vehicles. Renewable energy experts from the Ministry of Economics and Technology revealed that this could result to blackouts all over the country.
Smart Grid Networks
An efficient “smart grid” network may be able to provide a guarantee that electric vehicles will reduce emissions. These networks will give operators control over when and where the electricity flows. Smart grids would allow plug-in electric vehicles to store electricity when sources of renewable energy are abundant and feed power back to the grid when there is high demand.
Germany is planning to construct smart grid networks in conjunction with its Scandinavian and Southern European neighbors. Research is currently underway in 16 municipalities for testing the use of “smart meters,” to monitor individual electricity use and enhance efficiency.
Daimler and BMW launched their first electric vehicle in 2012 while Volkswagen rolled out its electric version in 2013. This plan of the German government has been criticized for offering no guarantee of emission reduction. The German government together with European brand car makers is planning to invest on hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, which emit only hydrogen and water.