A recent study commissioned by the German Oeko-Institute for Applied Ecology finds that in order electric vehicles to make truly significant strides in reducing global emissions levels, they must utilize electricity produced from renewable sources. The study also predicts that in 2030 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles will account for a 14% share of the overall automobile market in Germany, therefore making it possible to cover two-thirds of all journeys with electric vehicles.

However, the Okoe-Institute researchers argue that, given their inevitably slow roll out process, electric vehicles should remain a second priority to efforts to improve the energy efficiency of traditional fuel-powered vehicles. The researchers estimate that electric vehicles could reduce CO2 emissions of German passenger car transport by approximately 6%, by 2030, whereas significant improvements to the energy efficiency of existing fuel-burning vehicles could reduce this figure by as much as 25%.

Meeting the demand for renewable energy required to increase EVs’ impact in combating climate change, would lead to a 2% rise in Germany’s current total electricity consumption. Thus, while load-management, by means of scheduling EV charging times at off-peak hours, will certainly help to reduce the portion of GHG-intensive energy being burned, ultimately, the only sufficient solution is to add additional renewable energy reserves to meet the increased demand.

Source: Okoe-Institute summary of the study’s findings