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Basics of an Austrian road map for the large scale introduction of electric vehicles

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
Project Acronym
Austrian Electric Vehicle Initiative
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport electrification (ELT)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

As of 2009 the Austrian transport sector had an energy demand of about 100 TWh/a (350 PJ/a, with approximately 38 % due to passenger vehicles) and contributed about 26 % or 23 Mio tCO2e to Austria’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This represents an increase of 60 % since 1990. In addition to GHG emissions, local pollutants (e.g. fine particles) produced by internal combustion engines cause problems. Electric mobility is regarded as one option to reduce local pollutants (fine particles) and to improve the GHG balance of the transport sector. However, high expectations regarding a short-term market introduction of electric vehicles face challenges resulting from technology and infrastructure development needs, costs, and in achieving cooperation among the market interests of the actors involved. As in the EU and worldwide, Austria is in the process of developing a road map for large scale introduction of electric vehicles. This road map is to define the steps required for implementation, including how to coordinate activities among stakeholders.


The objective of the study is to provide basic information for the development of an Austrian road map for the large scale introduction of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles in this study comprise all road transport vehicles that can be driven at least for short distances purely on electric power. These include battery electric vehicles (battery and electric engine) and plugin- hybrid vehicles (battery, electric and internal combustion engine).


Today’s state of technology of batteries, electric vehicles and renewable electricity generation are described and their development prospects assessed. Based on this information, an economic analysis is undertaken in which the costs of transportation via electric vehicles are compared to those of vehicles with gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines. Future cost developments are taken into consideration in this analysis. Life cycle analysis is used to compare the GHG emissions and accumulated primary energy demand of electric and fossil fuel vehicles. The impacts of a range of electric power generation technologies and future technology developments on the results are assessed. A model was developed to provide information on the GHG emissions and additional electricity and electrical power demand attendant on large-scale introduction of electric vehicles with various user groups and alternative market success assumptions. Finally, a compendium of demonstration projects was developed based on current Austrian and worldwide activities and reports of experience with electric vehicle fleets.

These findings provide the basis for development of an Austrian road map for electric vehicles grounded on current understanding of the challenges to introduction of electric vehicles. Regular meetings were held throughout the project with an advisory committee composed of industry representatives from Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik GmbH, Verbund AG und Platingtech GmbH to discuss assumptions, procedures and findings.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)


Successful market integration and acceptance of electric vehicles largely depends on development of batteries (technology and costs). The lithium-ion battery has the greatest potential among battery systems with regard to extending range and reducing weight. Mass production could reduce battery costs by about 50 % from 800 to 350 €/kWh. The current market for electric vehicles is very small and only converted electric vehicles are available. Start of production of purpose-designed electric vehicles has been announced for 2010 to 2012. Passenger cars will cost between 17,000 and 63,000 €, which is significantly more expensive than comparable gasoline and diesel cars. Driving ranges will be between 50 and 200 km. The additional electricity demand for electric cars could be covered by expected increases in renewable electricity. The development potential of hydro, wind, biomass and photovoltaic power in Austria is about 16 TWh/a through 2020. The additional electricity demand for 0.25 million cars would be approximately 0.9 TWh/a and for 2 million cars approximately 7.5 TWh/a.

The costs per km for a small electric car without taxes (tax on diesel and gasoline, energy taxes for electricity and VAT) are 37 % higher compared to a gasoline or diesel car. Given current taxes, the costs per km are 29 % higher than the costs for a comparable gasoline or diesel car. If the battery needs to be changed during an assumed 10-years vehicle-lifetime, the costs of electric vehicles are 300 % higher without taxes and 270 % times higher including current taxes. With a cost decrease of the battery of about 50 to 65 % down to 250 to 350 €/kWh, per km electric vehicle costs would be in the range of comparable gasoline or diesel cars.

The reduction potential of GHG emissions in the transportation sector is mainly influenced by electricity generation technologies. Renewable electricity reduces life-cycle GHG emissions of an electric passenger car by 79 % and natural gas-based electricity by 19 % compared to a diesel car. Considering potential reduction in fuel consumption of gasoline and diesel vehicles (“3-litre-per-100-km car”) decreased the GHG reduction potential of electric cars. If electricity is generated from fossil fuels the GHG emissions of electric cars can exceed those of gasoline cars.

The potential market for electric vehicles consists of road users with daily driving distances up to 100 km, the distance which can be covered with one daily battery charging at home or at work. These include daily commuters, business vehicle fleets, the public sector, private car users, users of a second car and light motorcycles. Based on 300,000 new passenger cars registered each year and assuming the market share of electric vehicles of 1 % in 2010 increases by 1 % per year during the next 10 years, the number of electric vehicles in 2020 could reach 160,000.

The substitution of 5 % (250,000 vehicles) of the currently registered 4.7 million passenger cars and motorcycles in Austria by electric vehicles could reduce transportation sector GHG emissions by 210,000 tCO2e (natural gas based electricity) to 480,000 tCO2e (renewable electricity) per year (a 1.5 to 3.5 % reduction). If 2 million gasoline and diesel vehicles were replaced by electric vehicles, the GHG reduction would be 1.7 to 3.9 mtCO2e per year, a reduction of 12 to 27 %. To avoid increasing peak loads in the grid, a form of charging control and vehicle/grid communication would be required if more than 250,000 electric vehicles come into use.

Successful deployment of electric vehicles will require:

  • Availability of more affordable and powerful batteries
  • Availability of electric vehicles in the market
  • Acceptance by the users

Achieving GHG reductions and avoiding increased peak loads will require:

  • Additional renewable electricity
  • Suitable charging strategies

Findings of the study are published in detail by a final report (German only) which is available online via the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT):


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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