For Germany to meet its national climate protection targets, a substantial reduction in the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of all sectors– in particular the transport sector – is necessary. The electrification of transport in combination with an increasing use of renewable energies is an important option for fulfilling these targets. In order to ensure this development, it is particularly important for the interactions between electrical transport and the energy sector to be considered at an early stage and for possible effects on electricity production and necessary changes in the power plant fleet to be examined.
Within the scope of the eMobil 2050 project, the possible long-term interactions between the transport sector and the power sector are analysed on the basis of two scenarios, both of which assume a very ambitious development for electric mobility. The Grenzenlos eMobil scenario assumes further growth in transport demand and reduces GHG emissions above all by means of technological change. In the Regional eMobil scenario, greater changes in transport behaviour are assumed so that the number of kilometres travelled is also reduced.
The effects of the increasing electrification of the transport sector on electricity production in Germany are discussed in the study based on an analysis of marginal power generation2. This approach enables the long-term effects of an additional electricity demand on which power plant is used to supply the electricity and on the related emissions up to 2050 to be quantified and the need for additional action in the energy sector to be shown. Since the electricity market model shows the electricity demand of electrical transport as a whole, it is not possible to classify the emissions of different means of electrical transport specifically.
The results can be summarized as follows:
- While electrical transport still has moderate effects on the electricity market in terms of volume up to 2030, the transport sector becomes a key source of electricity demand by 2050.
- The direct GHG emissions of the transport sector can be reduced by more than 80 % by 2050 when a high share of electrical transport is assumed. Without an additional expansion of renewable energies, there are additional emissions in electricity production.
- The additional need for renewable capacities to meet the transport sector’s electricity demand significantly exceeds commonly used expansion scenarios for renewable energies. Unused renewable surpluses can only fulfil a very small share of the additional demand.
- The total GHG emissions of the transport and electricity generation sectors in Germany can be reduced by approx. 90 % by 2050 compared to 1990 if additional renewable capacities are made available. Without an additional expansion of renewable energies, the emission reduction of both sectors would amount to approx. 85%.
- The remaining renewable energies that electric vehicles cannot integrate in the electricity generation system could be used in the flexible production of electricity-based fuels.
- Strong electrification of transport can reduce the final energy demand of the transport sector up to 2050 to an extent that goes significantly beyond the German government’s current target of 40 %.
- Increased focus on the avoidance of transport and on modal shift enables a greater reduction of the final energy demand and would thereby decrease the need to expand the use of renewable energies.
Findings of the study are published in detail by a final report (German only) which is available online via the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety: