Description of e-Mobility and Fuel Cell Technologies

In this section, we describe e-mobility and fuel cell technologies. Since this is not a technical chapter, the details of the technologies will be omitted and only the information important for an economic analysis will be given.

Electric vehicles (EVS) are relatively energy efficient. Their efficiency rate exceeds 90 % while the internal combustion engines reaches just about 35 %. One reason for the increased efficiency relates to the possibility to recuperate the braking energy back into the vehicle’s energy supply system, while with the combustion engine it would be lost, being just converted into heat. Moreover, electric vehicles are able to potentially economize energy, in case that electricity is produced by efficient power stations. Furthermore, EVS produce no direct emissions. The air pollution problem is shifted from roads to the energy sector. Hence, the overall impact of this innovation on the environment can be evaluated only considering the overall emissions of these two sectors together. In other words, it depends heavily on the efficiency and on the greenhouse gas emissions of the electricity suppliers. If electricity is produced with the use of renewable resources, such as wind or water, then the overall emissions will be reduced and electric vehicles will be environmental friendly (Larminie and Lowry 2003). Apart from being more environmentally friendly, electric engines possess a number of advantages compared to the internal combustion engines which utilize gasoline: “Electric motors are low-maintenance, versatile and exceptionally quiet” (Deffke 2013, p. 4).

“Electric vehicles” is a broad notion. The main feature of the EVS is their ability to work on electricity alone and to be recharged with the help of power mains. However, there are several types of “electric vehicles”. According to a classification agreed upon by many experts, there are four types of EVS: battery electric vehicles (BEV), hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), range extended electric vehicles (REEV) and fuel cell vehicles (Proff and Kilian 2012). However, according to the German Federal Government’ s National Electromobility Development Plan, only the BEV, PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) and REEV are related to electromobility by definition and are supported, because they are charged with electricity and work on electricity alone. The engine unit of the BEV consists of the following main parts: battery, electric motor and a controller. The battery is being charged with the special power mains. It stores the energy and supplies the electric motor. The controller is called so, because it controls the amount of electricity that the motor gets from the battery as well as the speed of the vehicle (Larminie and Lowry 2003). Hybrid vehicles include both a combustion and an electric engine (Larminie and Lowry 2003). Table 1 provides a summarized comparison between the types of EVS and other vehicle types.

Table 1 Different types of vehicles

Vehicle type

Acronym

Ratio of power grid use for battery supply

Included in National Electromobility Development Plan

Typical features

Electric

vehicle

BEV (battery electric

vehicle)

100%

Yes

  • • Electromotor with grid chargeable battery
  • • Cars but also two-wheeled vehicles
  • • High potential for CO2 reduction through use of renewable energy

Electric vehicle with range extension

REEV

(range-

extended

electric

vehicle)

Partial, depending on battery range and use

Yes

  • • Electromotor with grid chargeable battery
  • • Modified

low-performance internal combustion engine or fuel cell

Plug-in

hybrid

vehicle

PHEV

(plug-in

hybrid

electric

vehicle)

Partial, depending on battery range and use

Yes

  • • Combination of classical internal combustion engine and electromotor
  • • Cars as well as commercial vehicles
  • (e.g. delivery vehicles)

Hybrid

vehicle

HEV

(hybrid

electric

vehicle)

No grid connection

No, but important for the development of PHEV and BEV

  • • Conventional internal combustion engine plus electromotor
  • • Battery charging through braking energy recovery
  • • Cars and commercial vehicles

Fuel cell vehicle

FCHEV

(fuel-cell

hybrid

electric

vehicle)

No grid connection

No (use of synergies through exchange with NIP)

Electromotor with fuel cell for energy supply

Source: Taken from the German Federal Government’s National Electromobility Development Plan (2009, p. 7)

 
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