The scientific and political spheres agree that without a transformation in transportation solutions there can be no energy transition. However, an increase in traffic and technology roadblocks is slowing the advance of the transport transformation. This discovery comes from a meta-analysis entitled “Energy Transition in the Transport Sector” published by the Agency for Renewable Energy (AEE) in November that evaluated 14 studies on energy supply in transportation. The conclusion? Extensive political measures and technological changes need to be made to reverse the trend. “The political sector needs to focus more strongly on researching and establishing clean drive trains and fuels, as well as the question of how to avoid traffic and how to shift the traffic to environmentally-friendly modes of transport,” says AEE Managing Director Philipp Vohrer.
According to the AEE, alternative power train technologies and fuels can be “important components in a solution for climate friendly transport.” Hope is being placed on electricity-based fuels (power-to-gas, power-to-liquid) for example, that are climate friendly when used with regenerative sources of energy. However, high conversion losses make their economic feasibility dependant on technological advances. In the opinion of the researchers electro-mobility is extremely energy-efficient, but it cannot cover all transport sectors. According to the AEE, its use in aviation and shipping in particular is unlikely at the moment, and many question marks remain in the area of truck transport.
“The global growth of electromobility is currently being driven by the Chinese market,” says Stefan Bratzel, Center of Automotive Management (CAM) in Bergisch Gladbach. One third of the 500,000 electric cars that were allowed on the road this year can be found in China. According to Stefan Bratzel, to promote electromobility in Germany “innovations that solve the so-called R.I.P. problems – range, infrastructure, and price – are needed. We’ve known for years that the current range of 100 to 150 kilometers is not acceptable to customers, especially since we also lack an extensive infrastructure of rapid charging stations.”
CAM has determined that German car manufacturers have “expanded their skills in the areas of plug-in hybrids and electromobility” in the past years. However, battery cell technology – a central value chain building block – is not located in Germany but primarily in South Korea, Japan and China. “If Germany does not wish to fall behind in a key field of innovation German manufacturers, suppliers and the government need to make a concerted effort to develop and at least partially produce the next generation of battery cells, or the one after next, within 5 to 10 years.” says Stefan Bratzel.
The Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi shows how it works. The company sent the world’s first SUV with plug-in hybrid engine onto the streets two years ago. The Outlander handles both fast DC charging as well as bi-directional charging. Mitsubishi’s German importer MMD Automobile will present the technology at Energy 2016 at HANNOVER MESSE. The leading energy trade show is integrating MobiliTec and bringing it to Hall 27 right next to the Hydrogen & Fuel Cells & Batteries display. Instead of viewing single modes of transport and components in isolated surroundings, MobiliTec will showcase the relationship between mobility and storage technologies, infrastructure and intermodality. This holistic approach makes this special display the only one of its kind in the world.
“It is no longer possible to separate energy and mobility,” says Benjamin Low, in charge of Energy at HANNOVER MESSE. “Cooperation with individual forms transportation is important for more than reducing carbon emissions.” MobiliTec will display innovative mobility technology and infrastructure solutions, public transportation projects and new logistics concepts that enable transportation to be transformed. The exhibition centers on the MobiliTec Forum, which brings together developers, users and investors. Together with politicians, they will discuss mobility concepts for the future, new production technologies, intermodality, and electricity and charging infrastructure. Program participants include the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDW), the Federal Association of Solar Mobility (BSM), the Research Association for Drive Engineering in VDMA (FVA/VDMA) and the Central Association of Electrical Engineering (ZVEI).
In addition the MobiliTec test track will give visitors the opportunity to test mobility solutions themselves. At the 15,000 square meter open-air exhibition ground next to Hall 27 hybrid vehicles demonstrate their road capability alongside purely battery operated and fuel cell operated vehicles. Visitors took more than 1,500 drives every day at HANNOVER MESSE in 2015.