Alternative powertrains

Wherever traffic cannot be avoided or shifted to climate-friendly modes of transport in the course of the mobility transition, alternative drives and energy sources come into play ("drive transition"). Electric vehicles enable the direct use of renewable electricity in transport with high energy efficiency - in the passenger car sector they have now reached the mass market. But in road freight transport in particular, alternatives to pure battery drive are also being discussed and tested. A power supply for trucks from overhead lines can reduce the need for batteries and thus protect the climate and resources from vehicle production. And "green" hydrogen can be a sensible solution where electricity cannot be used directly, e.g. in long-distance transport and in aircraft.

Important research questions concern the suitability of the different technologies for specific areas of application from a comprehensive practical and environmental point of view.

To this end, the ifeu is investigating the technical, economic and operational challenges of the drive transition as well as the climate balance and other environmental impacts of various technologies over their entire life cycle (Life Cycle Assessment=LCA). Our approach is based on the modelling of the key interdependencies. Due to the rapid development in this field, it is particularly important for the ifeu to always use current and comprehensive data and to constantly question model assumptions. Our work is therefore characterised by close links to field trials as well as to the national and international research community.


Hinrich Helms

Dipl. Geograph (graduate in geography)
+49 (0)6221 4767 33

Publication Wie umweltfreundlich sind Elektroautos?

Eine ganzheitliche Bilanz

Broschüre des Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit (BMU) Elektroautos können negative Umweltfolgen des Autoverkehrs vermindern – insbesondere den…

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Publication Wie klimafreundlich sind Elektroautos?

Update Bilanz 2020

Authors: Claudia Kämper, Hinrich Helms, Kirsten Biemann


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Publication Plug-in hybrid electric cars: Market development, technical analysis and CO₂ emission scenarios for Germany

Study on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety

Im Zentrum der vorliegenden Untersuchung stand die Frage, in welchem Maße die realen CO₂-Emissionen von Plug-in-Hybridfahrzeugen (PHEV) im Betrieb von den Normwerten abweichen, …

Authors: Julius Jöhrens, Dominik Räder, Jan Kräck, Lucien Mathieu, Ruth Blanck, Peter Kasten

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LKWs und Autos auf einer Autobahn

enERSyn - Electric Road Systems as part of truck electrification

Analysis of technical, economic, environmental and energy-systemic synergies of Electric Road Systems (ERS) with other truck electrification technologies

In this project, we investigate the future role of dynamic power supply for electric trucks from a technical, strategic and energy-economic point of view.

High Efficiency Low Emission Nautical SOFC (HELENUS)

Cruise ships and other large seagoing vessels require considerable amounts of electricity and heat on board. How much more environmentally friendly would it be to provide this energy using solid oxide…

Green Public Procurement of passenger cars

More than 20,000 vehicles are purchased by the public sector in Germany every year. This volume of finance and demand justifies a special responsibility of the public sector for green…

Internationale Forschungskooperation zu Electric Road Systems II (CollERS II)

CollERS II continues ifeu's international cooperation in the field of research on the electrification of heavy goods transport.

Analysis of the environmental impacts of vehicles with different drivetrain and fuel options in Germany during the transition towards a greenhouse gas neutral mobility

How can vehicles drive as environmentally friendly as possible in the future? This question was answered as part of this project.

Evaluation of the funding of electric buses in public transport

Since March 2018, the BMU has been supporting transport companies in the purchase of e-buses in local public transport. An impact evaluation of the support programme is now being carried out as part…

Accompanying research on catenary truck research in Germany

The BOLD project evaluates the results of three current field tests with catenary trucks. This is intended to bundle the knowledge gained from all projects and to put it on a broader basis.

My eRoads

The aim of the project is to develop an analytical toolkit for a route-based assessment of electrification potentials for commercial vehicle fleets in freight and passenger transport.

Assessment of the potential contribution of electricity-based synthetic fuels to archive the transport climate protection goals in Baden-Württemberg

This report examines what contribution electricity-based synthetic fuels could make to reducing transport’s greenhouse gas emissions in Baden-Württemberg. It discusses the necessary framework…

Climate impacts of electric cars

In terms of their climate impact, electric cars are frequently criticised. Different study re-sults make the discussion difficult for politicians and consumers. The project therefore systematically…

Energy efficiency and sustainable transport in Cyprus

The “energy efficiency and sustainable transport “ in Cyprus analyses the potential of using alternative fuels, e.g. biofuels, natural gas or electro-mobility, for the road and maritime sectors to…

Roadmap for an overhead catenary system for trucks

An overhead catenary system for trucks could lead to the electrification of heavy truck transport. This comprehensive research project investigates the potential in this area.

The 3E Multiple Dwelling Unit

In the BMUB-funded research project “The 3E Multiple dwelling unit”, LichtBlick and the ifeu investigate business models for the electricity supply of electric vehicles with self-generated electricity…

My eDrive App

Is there an electric car that suits my requirements? As part of the My eDrive project, we developed an app and a website to help answer this question.