“The battery in particular proves to be a critical point when it comes to the ecological balance of the electric car,” states Bernd Brauer, Head of Automotive Financial Services at Consors Finanz. A large amount of carbon dioxide is generated in their manufacture and recycling. In addition, rare raw materials are used, the funding conditions of which are controversial for both ecological and social reasons.
The respondents to the Automobilbarometer International are aware of this. For 88 percent, for example, the manufacture of batteries and their recycling represent a serious environmental problem. 82 percent feel the same applies to the use of rare materials. This means that in this point the e-car is on the same level as cars with internal combustion engines in the assessment of consumers. Because 87 percent also see the use of fossil fuels (crude oil or gas) as a problem for the ecological balance.
In Austria, hydrogen was most recently politically proclaimed the fuel of the future. “There is no such thing as the egg-laying pig in the energy transition. Hydrogen in its dual role as an energy carrier and energy storage device is very close and will play a major role in the energy system of the future, ”says Theresia Vogel, Managing Director of the Climate and Energy Fund, an institution of the Federal Ministries for Sustainability and Tourism as well as for Transport, Innovation and Technology that is intended to promote innovation through funding.
The problem with hydrogen
Johannes Wahlmüller from the environmental NGO Global 2000 sees it differently: “For us, hydrogen is an important future technology, but in industry and in the long term. In the next ten years, hydrogen will not make any significant contribution to reducing CO2. Hydrogen has lost nothing in private transport because too much energy is lost during production. If we wanted to achieve Austria’s climate goals in traffic with hydrogen cars, electricity consumption would skyrocket by 30 percent. That doesn't work out with the potential we have. "
So what kind of car should you buy now or in the next few years - from an ecological point of view? Wahlmüller: “It is best to rely on public transport and bicycle traffic. In the case of cars, electric vehicles have the best eco-balance if the electricity comes from renewable sources. "
Purely economic interests?
So the electric car after all! But how is it that at least the last Austrian government wants to have found the philosopher's stone in hydrogen? Is the political preference for hydrogen a result of strategic considerations by OMV and the industry? Say: Will a future market be created for the post-oil era - without any real interest in ecology? “We can hardly judge that. The fact is that hydrogen is currently from the OMV is made from natural gas. From our point of view, this has no future. Climate protection should not be subordinated to the wishes of individual industries, ”Wahlmüller unfortunately cannot answer this question for us. Nevertheless, the question always arises: who is using something?
And besides, hydrogen is currently by no means a quick solution, confirms Wahlmüller: “There are hardly any vehicle models on the market. The vehicle industry as a whole is relying on the electric vehicle. Two models for hydrogen cars are currently available. They are available from 70.000 euros. So it will remain with individual vehicles for the next few years. "
But: Shouldn't the energy supply of the future have a broad footing, ie shouldn't everything be exclusively based on renewable electricity? Wahlmüller: “To be able to become climate neutral by 2040, we have to switch completely to renewable energy. But that only works if we stop wasting energy and use a broad mix of renewable energy sources. If we use technology incorrectly, we waste so much renewable energy that it is missing in other areas. So you always need an overview. That is why we are against the widespread use of hydrogen cars. "