What is the future of the electric car? The answer in five points

Efficiency, autonomy, CO2 footprint, environment and energy. The five reasons that lead some of the leading experts to confirm that the future of the car is electric.

Someone is still not convinced. Some still question the sustainability of the electric car, and argues that in addition to the evidence of local zero emissions, there is much more. And it’s true: the electric car itself involves emissions, but it’s these nonetheless lower than that of hydrogen cars and those with internal combustion engines powered by synthetic fuels. Let’s start with the professor’s opinion Maximilian Fichtneran internationally renowned expert in battery technology at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. “Many studies have shown that electric driving is by far the most efficient way to drive cars.” Let us now see in a little more detail why, in five points.

electric car
In a few years, electric cars will reach a thousand kilometers of autonomy © Volkswagen

Why the electric car is so efficient

There is no escape: physics is physics. Given a certain amount of energy generated electric cars they send 70 percent to the wheels, those with hydrogen only 15-18 per cent, while that with synthetic fuels does not go beyond 5-8; finally, the current internal combustion engines reach 20-24 per cent. The great advantage of the electric motor certainly lies in its internal efficiency (there are very few dispersions due to friction and heat), but also and above all in the simplicity of the transformation process. The energy is stored in the battery pack and from there immediately sent to the engine as needed.

L ‘hydrogenInstead, before reaching the wheels, it must undergo a complex process of production, transport and conversion, causing a high loss of energy. It’s even worse with in synthetic fuels: 162 kWh of electricity will be needed to produce six liters of e-diesel, which is enough to drive about 100 kilometers. “With the same amount of energy, an electric car can drive a thousand kilometers,” says Fichtner.

electric car efficiency
In electric cars, 70 percent of the energy goes to the wheels © Volkswagen

The range will increase: the goal is a thousand kilometers

One of the “hot” topics when it comes to electric cars isautonomy. Another is the number of charging points available. Well, modern electric cars have reached mileage, between charges, which is an antidote to range anxiety. Take the case again Volkswagen ID.3: can travel up to 549 kilometers with the 77 kWh battery, up to 426 km with the 58 kWh battery and up to 352 kilometers with the 45 kWh battery (data provided). And in not many years, technological advances should lead to a thousand kilometers of autonomy, between cell optimization, batteries, and energy management. Only for the development of solid cellsthat Volkswagen Group working with partner QuantumScape. The goal is to increase the electric range and reduce the charging time.

What changes if you recharge your car with renewable energy

Many scientific studies have long supported this: Electric cars have the best carbon footprint. In particular, the sustainability of electric cars has grown significantly in recent years, thanks to advances in the production of batteriesthe increase in their duration and the growth of renewable energy produced in Europe. “Compared to internal combustion vehicles, electric cars require even more energy for production. But if green electricity is used, the hole will be leveled after a few tens of thousands of kilometers, ”he says. Christian Bauerresearcher in Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). Compared to this last statement, however, a clarification is needed: the use of green electricity is an important item, but to compare two technologies, the same conditions must be used. In other words, even the production of traditional cars can be done with electricity from renewable sources.

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The Volkswagen Group is working to expand the number of fast charging stations © Volkswagen

We need a real energy revolution

Based on what we saw in the beginning, that transition to el would massively reduce the energy needs of the transport sector is quite obvious. Based on 2018 data, Fichtner estimates one energy saving more than 75 percent in the transportation sector if all 48 million cars in the German fleet became fully electric. The advantage of this gigantic saving lies precisely in the fact that electric cars require the production of less energy. Conversely, a complete transition to hydrogen will increase demand by a third.

So far, we have primarily dealt with the transitional issue amounts: the amount of energy required to generate motion. There is obviously a question as well qualitative: the proliferation of electric mobility requires expansion ofcharging infrastructure and requires use of Raw materialsuch as lithium and cobalt, with sustainable supply chains.

Batteries and rare earths, we need certified partners

The Volkswagen Group is at the forefront on both fronts. In fact, in early 2021, it introduced a raw materials management system that establishes universal sustainability standards for the extraction and processing of sixteen hazardous materials. Among these, they are necessary for batteries: lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite. The goal is to make the supply chains transparent through certified audits and with the use of blockchain technology. Since 2019, all suppliers have also been subject to a sustainability assessment, where environmental and social standards have the same value as cost and quality. In the Congo, for example, Volkswagen and other partners are leading the project Cobalt for development. The goal is to improve the health and safety conditions as well as the quality of life of the people living in the communities around the mines. Volkswagen is also a part of Responsible Lithium Partnershipwhich supports the responsible management of natural resources, including lithium, in Salar de Atacama, Chile.

Charging stations, spreading and speed knots to be untied

From a point of view of the efficient user-friendliness of electric cars in everyday life, the goal that the Volkswagen Group has set for 2025 is of fundamental importance: to manage, in collaboration with partners, around 18,000 fast charging stations In Europe. In practice, five times the number of stations fast charging present. Not only Europe, but the group is working to expand the fast charging network in the USA and China as well. With Electrify America10,000 HPC stations will be installed in the United States and Canada by 2025. By virtue of joint venture with Cameras, on the other hand, 17 thousand will be activated in China in the same period. Furthermore through the subsidiary Ellithe group supplies wallboxes for household charging exclusively powered by electricity from renewable energy sources.

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