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Light electric vehicles, an opportunity for climate-friendly transport. © DLR. All rights reserved
Light electric vehicles, an opportunity for climate-friendly transport. © DLR. All rights reserved

Anyone who drives a car with a combustion engine causes CO2 emissions. In principle, half of the kilometres currently travelled by car in Germany could also be covered by light electric vehicles. This would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40 % in comparison; that would be around 57 million tonnes less emissions per year. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) on behalf of the LEVA-EU Light Electric Vehicle Association. Light electric vehicles (LEVs) thus have great potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector and thus contribute to climate protection.

With large and heavy cars, a large part of the drive energy is needed to move the vehicle itself. Only a fraction is used to move the passengers. With light electric vehicles, the ratio is much better. Because they are lighter, the battery can be designed smaller and therefore consumes fewer raw materials during production and causes fewer climate-damaging emissions. For their study, the researchers from the DLR Institutes of Vehicle Concepts and Transport Research looked at the entire range of light electric vehicles from e-scooters, e-bikes and e-load bikes to electrically powered scooters and motorbikes to three- and four-wheeled small cars in the L5e to L7e classes. An electric microcar, for example, which reaches a top speed of 125 km/h and provides mobility similar to that of a car, could theoretically cover half the kilometres driven by car. “The production of microcars produces only about one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions of a medium-sized electric car,” says Simone Ehrenberger, who investigated the life cycle assessment of LEVs for the study.

In order for LEVs to actually unfold their potential, their acceptance must be increased, incentives for purchase and use must be created, regulatory measures must be advanced, the development of the necessary infrastructure as well as more comfortable and safe vehicle concepts must be provided. “Resource-efficient vehicles are an important factor in reducing the climate impact of the transport sector, in addition to changes in our mobility behaviour and technological advances,” says Mascha Brost, head of the study.

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