Deutsch Home & News About IFEU Reference list Contact & staff Sitemap Search
Waste Management education Energy Industry & Emmissions Biomass & Food Sustainability Life Cycle Assessment Riskassessment EIA & SEA Traffic & Environment
Transport & Environment
You are here: Transport & EnvironmentVehicle Concepts – Electric Mobility

Electric Mobility

Electric vehicles are once again a hot topic: Hybrids are already established and regarded as the new clean vehicles. Improvements in battery technology may soon also lead to a penetration of full electric vehicles into the market.

Electric moblity is one of our main fields of research. Several results of our studies are available for interactive use online:


What is electric mobility?


Many manufacturers currently follow a strategy of increasing electrification of the vehicle drive train, without giving up the conventional drive („hybrids“). Such vehicles range from “micro-hybrids” with start-stop systems to “full hybrids”, in which electric motor and combustion engine are combined to compensate for the disadvantages of the combustion engine. In full hybrids, the electric motor can also fully propel the vehicle, but only for short distances due to the small battery size.




Larger batteries may also be charged via the electric grid (e.g. at night in the garage) and allow for the coverage of longer distances by the electric motor only. Such vehicles are called “plug-in hybrids” and are increasingly part of the public and scientific discussion. With this configuration, a larger part of the annual mileage can be fuelled with electricity from the grid. “full electric vehicles” only have an electric motor and therefore a larger battery.

nach oben


What are the advantages of electric mobility?


First of all, the electrification of conventional vehicles leads to lower energy consumption. Furthermore, in electric drive, vehicles have no direct emissions and a low noise level. This leads to local environmental advantages over conventional combustion vehicles, which are one main source of the high urban air pollution with particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide as well as noise pollution.

The use of externally produced electricity in plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles also allows for an extension of the energy basis in road transport. Several energy sources can now be used, which so far have not played any role in transport at all. This includes renewable energies such as wind and hydro power as well as photovoltaics. These renewables make a further reduction of traffic related CO2 emissions - beyond increased energy efficiency - possible. The CO2 savings for the use of renewables in road transport are about as high as their use in electricity generation.

nach oben


IFEU activities on electric mobility


Electric mobility is an IFEU topic already since the scientific work around the electric vehicle field test on the island of Rügen in the 90s. Today IFEU is involved in several research and consulting activities on different aspects of electric mobility. Main focus is the analysis of environmental impacts of electric vehicles compared to conventional vehicles. Within this subject in several projects the LCA-Modell eLCAr (Electric Car LCA) will be developed.



ongoing projects


My E-Drive - App and internet platform: Support for prospective buyers of battery-electric vehicles

A number of freely accessible tools providing decision support for the purchase of a vehicle are available today. However, none of the available tools allow user-specific evaluation of environmental and climate impacts or apply primary data of vehicles available on the market. The primary goal of the joint project "My E-Drive" carried out by IFEU and ADAC is the development of a tool for the use of potential battery-electric vehicle buyers. My E-Drive aims to enable the prospective buyer to select a vehicle based on the individual user profile. The combination of internet platform and smartphone app will illustrate and integrate a combination of both environmental and economic aspects of the purchase decision. The individual user profile may be defined and updated with actual driving data recorded with a smartphone.

More information … (Website BMUB)
Flyer of the project ... (in German)


The multi-family home: Self-generation, self-consumption and electromobility in a multi-family dwelling

The numbers of battery-electric vehicles are growing. Meanwhile, the German Energy Transition (Energiewende) is associated with increasing self-generation of electricity in buildings. Future efforts should therefore be directed towards the optimised combination of self-generated electricity and electromobility. After all, the operation of battery-electric vehicles is only CO2-neutral if the batteries are charged with renewable energy. In the past, optimisation efforts for such system have been focused on corporate car parks or single-family detached homes. In the multi-family home project, LichtBlick is applying this complex system of the future to a multi-family dwelling with multiple separate housing units for the first time. IFEU is responsible for carrying out a life cycle assessment for the system and investigating the suitability of battery-electric vehicles for the purpose of car sharing between the tenants of the MDU. In addition, the applicability and relevance of the concept for current and future building stock is explored.

More information ...
More information ... (Website BMUB)
Flyer of the project ... (in German)

Environmental research for the Fleet Test "Battery-electric Terminal Trucks"

IFEU is undertaking ecological research in a fleet test with battery-electric terminal trucks, supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU). Terminal Trucks are used for the transport of containers within ports. The electrification of the so far diesel powered vehicles aims to decrease the CO2-emissions of container turnover. The environmental advantages of the electrification will be quantified with a life-cycle approach and potentials for further optimization be demonstrated.

More information (in German) ...



finished projects


Energy and Environment – Electric mobility a spart of the LivingLab BWe mobil

This joint research project by ifeu and the Fraunhofer Institutes ISE and ISA was part of the show case project LivingLab BWe mobil. Aim was the analysis of chances and risks of the introduction of electric mobility in the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The potential of reducing environmental burdens in Baden-Wuerttemberg by electric mobility was analysed by ifeu, while Fraunhofer ISI focused on the power sector and Fraunhofer ISE on grid implications.

Download of final report (in German, pdf, 2,6 MB, Fraunhofer-Publica)

Ecologic Research PEDELECTION -
Modal shift and climate impacts of pedelec use in individual traffic (2015)

The project PEDELECTION determines modal shift impacts of pedelecs (bicycles with electric pedal assistance). The analysis investigates everyday use profiles and focuses on the motives for pedelec use. Based on case studies, IFEU is undertaking an environmental assessment of the situation prior and after pedelec acquisition. The analysis follows a life cycle approach, thus not only considers environmental impacts of vehicle use, but also of vehicle production.


Advancement and Deeper Analysis of Electric Vehicles Life Cycle Assessment (2015)
The assessment of the environmental impacts of different electric mobility concepts requires an analysis over the entire life-cycle of vehicles. While the use phase and electricity generation have already been studied in detail, the focus of this project commissioned by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) is on the vehicle production. The existing analyses will particularly be expanded by a profound assessment of the environmental impacts from the extraction of important raw materials.

Download of the final report (in German, UBA Texte 27/2016, pdf 5 MB)

Environmental research for the VW Fleet Test Electric Mobility (2013

IFEU has conducted an accompanying environmental assessment study as part of the VW fleet test for Plug-In Hybrids. Focus has been the analysis of energy consumption and emissions of the vehicle use, the environmental impacts of supplying vehicles with electricity and ecological aspects of vehicle production.

Download of final report (in German, pdf, 2,6 MB)
More information...

UMBReLA – Environmental assessment of electric mobility (2011)

In the UMBReLA project IFEU consolidated results with relevance for an environmental assessment from a number of electric mobility research projects and fleets tests. In addition to this comprehensive environmental assessment of different types of battery electric mobility, an internet platform was developed which gives an overview on electric mobility research activities and will offer an online calculation tool for environmental impacts.

More information (in German) ... (UMBReLA-Website)

Environmental research for the Fleet Test "Automatic guided vehicles" (AGV) (2011)

IFEU has been conducting ecological research for a fleet test with battery powered heavy duty vehicles in the Hamburg container terminal ‘Altenwerder’. The electrification leads to a significant reduction in CO2-emissions from container handling. Environmental benefits and further reduction potentials have been quantified based on a life-cycle assessment.

More information (in German) ... (Final Report - Website)

National Conference on Strategies for “Electric Mobility“ (2008)

The National Conference on Strategies for „Electric Mobility“ on November 25th and 26th 2008 in Berlin tried to answer the question, in which fields the German government could get actively involved to support the development of a sustainable electric mobility in road transport. A workshop on the necessary framework conditions for a sustainable electric mobility was chaired by IFEU executive Dr. Ulrich Höpfner who also presented the results of the session to the plenum.

More information ... (Website, in German)

Scientific consulting to the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) (2008)

IFEU is consulting to the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU) with expertises and scientific background papers on different aspects of electric mobility. IFEU has also organised several workshops on electric mobility for BMU.

Schweiz-Mendrisio (1997)

"Übertragung der Ökobilanz "Elektrofahrzeuge auf Rügen" auf die Schweiz [Mendrisio-Projekt]"(Transfer of the LCA „Electric vehicles on Rügen“ to Switzerland) followed by "Situation des Elektrofahrzeuges bei der zukünftigen Stromerzeugung in der Schweiz" (Situation of the electric vehicle in future electricity generation in Switzerland); both commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.


"Vergleichende Ökobilanz: Elektrofahrzeuge und konventionelle Fahrzeuge - Bilanz der Emission von Luftschadstoffen und Lärm sowie des Energieverbrauchs" (Comparative LCA: Electric vehicles and conventional vehicles – Pollutant emissions, noise and energy consumption) as part of the project "Erprobung von Elektrofahrzeugen der neuesten Generation auf der Insel Rügen" (Fleet test of latest generation electric vehicles on the island of Rügen) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.





Presentation: Introduction to Bus Electro-Mobility Development in Germany. GiZ-Workshop "Electric Busses: Application and Evaluation", 20.11.2015, Peking.

Article: Die Umweltbilanz muss stimmen (pdf 756 KB, in German); in: UMWELT 04/2011

Article: Interactions Between Electromobility and Energy Economies with Increasing Shares of Renewable Energy Carriers, in: "Zeitschrift für Energiewirtschaft"

Conference Paper: The 'Renewables' Challenge - Biofuels vs. Electric Mobility (pdf 49 KB). From the proceedings of the 8th International Colloquium Fuels - Conventional and Future Energy for Automobiles, Esslingen, January 19-20, 2011

Elektromobilität und erneuerbare Energien (Electric mobility and renewable energies - in German, pdf 735 KB);
Beitrag zum Band "20 Jahre Recht der Erneuerbaren Energien", Dr. Martin Pehnt, IFEU

Conference Paper: Electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid energy efficiency and life cycle emissions (pdf 303 KB). 18th International Symposium "Transport and Air Pollution", Zurich, May 18-19, 2010.

Working paper: Elektromobilität und erneuerbare Energien; (pdf in German 197 KB) . (Electric mobility and renewable energies). Working paper of the project "Energiebalance - Optimale Systemlösungen für Erneuerbare Energien und Energieeffizienz" (Energybalance – Optimal system solutions für renewable energies and energy efficiency),

nach oben





Hinrich Helms (06221/ 4767-33;
Julius Jöhrens (06221/4767-45;
Udo Lambrecht (06221/ 4767-35;

 Printer friendly  Tell a friend Last updated: 06 Apr 2016