The German government plans with up to 11 million new electric car registrations in the upcoming 10 years and the EU-Commission targets a combustion engine ban by the year 2035. We will need a lot of energy to fulfill these goals. The question is, where will this energy come from?
The electric car sales in Germany are constantly rising. There were over 150.000 new registrations in the first half of 2021. That is already three quarters of the total new registrations of 2020. This development only makes sense if the energy for these cars is 100 percent renewable, but we still have a long road ahead to come to that point, because right now 47 percent comes from renewable energy sources. The federal government plans to increase that number to 65 percent in 2030 but a recent study by the “Energiewirtschafts Institut (EWI)” analyzed that Germany will most certainly miss this target. They identified 4 major problems.
1. Development problems with wind power
Wind energy is a key factor in the German renewable energy plan. In the last couple of years many difficulties occurred. A major problem is the distance regulation regarding wind parks and nearby cities or villages. A typical German issue is the long and difficult authorization procedure regarding wind energy facilities.
2. Increase in electricity demand
All these new electric cars need a lot of electricity. “Agora Energiewende” is an organization that did a recent study on the carbon footprint of electric vehicles. They calculated that 7 million new vehicles would result in an increase of 25 terawatt hours. When we scale this up to 11 million cars, we end up with 39 terawatt hours extra. That is 7,8 percent of the total energy demand today. The federal government also changed its prognosis regarding the total energy demand in 2030 from 580 to 665 terawatt hours. Some experts still belief that this is not enough.
3. Backlog in charging infrastructure
To meet the upcoming rise in electricity needs for cars there must be an efficient number of charging stations. The EU-calculated that for every 10 million new electric vehicles on the streets there should be at least one million new charging stations.
4. Missing power lines
A rising demand in energy also comes with a higher need of power lines to bring the electricity to the point where it is needed. Many citizens protest against those power lines, because they do not want them close to their home. This makes it quite difficult to stick to given time limits.
Big challenge ahead of us
On the way to 2030 Germany still has a lot on its bucket list to become more electrified in the mobility sector but if society holds together, this goal can be achieved.
Written by: Antonius Eich