Automotive Climate Change Question 15

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Question

“Has the brand announced that a full electric or fuel cell car will be brought to the European market by 2012 at the latest?”

Dutch version: “Heeft het merk aangekondigd dat het een volledig elektrische of brandstofcel auto op de Europese markt brengt in 2012 of eerder?”

German version: Hat das Unternehmen angekündigt, bis spätestens 2012 ein Elektroauto auf den europäischen Markt zu bringen?

References

Electric cars use electricity for propulsion instead of fuel. This method can entail several environmental benefits [1]:

• Improved energy efficiency. An ICE has an energy efficiency of between 10-50%; electric motors can achieve an efficiency of around 90%. Much energy from an ICE car gets lost as redundant heat.
• Decrease of oil dependence. Oil is the core ingredient of current fuel mixes including petrol and diesel. An increase in the use of electric cars will decrease the demand of oil. This leads to a decrease of oil-related CO2 emissions. It can furthermore lead to a decrease in oil-dependence from OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). Alternatively, it may stabilize countries whose main source of income is oil exports.
• V2G, or Vehicle-to-Grid Application. The inherent problem of electricity is that it cannot be stored. Cars furthermore are parked most of the day, particularly during office hours. This application makes it therefore possible to recharge electric car batteries during the night (low demand) and sent part of this electricity back to the grid during the day (high demand). This will increase the use of otherwise non-existent electricity, thereby reducing existing electricity demand during peak hours. This will reduce the overall electricity demand.
• Electric cars emit virtually no exhaust gases during operation. Emissions (CO2 and smog) rather occur at the electricity-generating source and have the potential to be better contained.

The question on electric cars is included because it has potentially very high benefits to CO2 emission reduction and to a lesser degree in reducing exhaust gases. We think it is therefore good practice of automotive brands to engage in electric cars.

Note that non-full electric cars are not eligible to this question. Brands may use the term Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), also hybrid and not eligible for this question. Also extended-range (see former question) uses gasoline and is not eligible to this question.

Fuel cell cars are expected to take longer than electric cars to become commercially available in the market. The fuel cell car has to tackle criticism, and prove its efficiency in terms of well-to-wheel carbon emissions in comparison to electric cars. Still, the possible benefits of the fuel cell car are obvious and therefore, eligible to this question.

Note that this question may be expanded with the criterion to include well-to-wheel carbon emissions data for various scenario's (like burning coal, the EU electricity average, and/ or country averages) for carbon emissions caused by electricity production.

Please note that for this question we look specifically at the brand's level, so information on the conglomerate's website is only accountable when the conglomerate specifically refers to the brand.

Ranking guidelines

Rank Yes:

- When brands have included an electric car in their car fleet or have announced to bring an electric car to the market by 2012 at the latest. Note that a ‘hybrid electric’ car is not a full electric car and is not eligible to have a ‘yes’ for this question.

Rank ?:

- When information on this cannot be found.

Rank No:

- When automotive brands dismiss the inclusion of electric passenger cars in their car fleet (look at Toyota answer for a good example).