Das Grauen der fossilen Welt nach Transfer Patras-Venedig auf einer nicht minder stinkenden griechischen Fähre.

The terror of the fossil world after a transfer from Patras to Venice on a very smelly Greek ferry.

In this article, Jörg Schindler wrote down a few ideas on the question that sprang to mind recently.

He talks about pure battery cars (E-cars) that get their energy through re-loading the battery from the common energy outlets.

Basically, there is only one possible conclusion – not just after reading this article. We have to drastically re-think and change our mobility. However, in our society, change can only be done from the bottom, for instance through grass root movements.

On January, 4th and 5th, 2016, we start our first barcamp for “Active Mobility in Everyday Life“ in Unterhaching – AktMobCmp.

So here is the article by Jörg Schindler:

What e-cars contribute towards reducing emission and making us less dependent upon crude oil.

A change of course in the propulsion technology and the fuels of the automobile industry is inevitable for various reasons:

  1. The cities literally suffocate under the exhaust fumes of car traffic, not just in China.
  2. In the long run, kissing oil good-bye – and consequently kissing the combustion motor good-bye – is inevitable, because less and less fuel will be available.
  3. For reasons of climate protection, this farewell should happen pretty soon. Consequently, a change of technology from the combustion motor to electrically powered vehicles is necessary and makes sense.

There is no doubt that it must be our goal to drastically reduce the number (and/or the use) of cars powered by oil quickly and considerably. E.-cars will emit no harmful substances locally, thereby making a contribution towards improving the air quality at the place of their use. Yet the global emissions are not zero.

Instead, they depend on how the electric energy has been produced. In Germany, electricity is still produced with an enormous fossil percentage (hard coal, brown coal and natural gasoline), which causes an enormous locally effective pollution in the power station, as well as globally effective emissions of greenhouse gas. With the current mixture of energy production in Germany, e-cars are “emission elsewhere vehicles”. Currently, the greenhouse emission is not reduced.

With respect to availability of resources and greenhouse gas emission, e-cars only make sense if they come with a profound change of primary electric energy sources from fossil to renewable.

The positive effect of e-cars when it comes to the quality of life in the urban environment

Apart from less emission at the place of utilization: no positive effect. In the public domain, motorized individual traffic is still domineering, regardless of the e-cars. And its political priority continues. The plan to open bus lanes for e-cars even exacerbates this tendency. As before, cars dominate the public domain. Self-induced chances of mobility for children and persons who do not own a car do not improve. There is no promotion – let alone priority – of active mobility.

The social and industry-political aspects

For persons who do not own a car, the transition to e-cars is not an improvement in their chances of mobility. The discussion about promoting the sale of battery cars is motivated by industry-political aspects – it is desired that said transition should not hurt the industry. It is more likely that the goal is reached if you calculate taxes according to carbon dioxide emission.

Additionally, it is obvious that tax reductions for Diesel fuel should be abolished (as they now plan to do in France by 2020). A radical banishment of cars with health-hazardous emissions in inner cities is also necessary.

The list of necessary measures can be added to almost at random (for instance: speed limit). Besides, we already have relatively clean small conventional cars (for instance those that emit less than 95 g of carbon dioxide per 100 km). But they say it cannot be expected from those who drive business cars, from the average car driver and from the German automobile industry to use them.

The proposed 5,000 Euros in subsidies for those who buy an e-car would suffice to give three Hartz-IV recipients a Pedelec, which would considerably improve the mobility chances for deprived groups. (It might be worth thinking about why these kinds of alternatives for spending public money are not even considered).

Promoting e-cars more and more aggressively (since said promotion apparently is a failure on the market), those solutions already possible and currently much more effective are concealed through the one-sided propagation of tomorrow’s solution. In doing so, these currently possible solutions are ignored and kept from influencing the current political debate. Consequently, things that could and should be done immediately and would have a far more positive effect are left undone.

Trapped in the paradigm of fossil traffic

As before, the general agreement is: it is better to be motorized than not. It is desired that the structures remain unchanged, only the technology has to improve. Sustainability as an add-on (just like whipped cream on the cake).

You will always see the same pattern: there are no explicit political alternatives. Instead, technological problems are re-defined and a solution has to be found for them: e-cars as the solution for all urban environmental traffic problems.

Another example for repressing political solutions: a possible (re-)structuring of the public (street) domain is not made the topic of any discussions – except when it can absolutely no longer be avoided, like on the Munich Rosenheimer Strasse.

The necessary transition to the post-fossil mobility is a lot more all-encompassing.

Clean power production and the transition to renewable energy sources for motorized traffic are a matter of necessity. But it is not sufficient to solve all the problems of modern traffic.

Reduced availability of crude oil and energy that will be more expensive in the long run will increase the local resistance, i.e. the economic, time and emotional effort necessary for getting from location A to location B with motorized means of transportation on the street, on water and in the air. Through the increased local resistance, what is nearer will become closer and what is farther away will become more remote. Consequently, reaching places in the vicinity will become more important than reaching remote places.

There is no doubt that efficient ways of travelling are a necessity in this context. But it is just as important to have efficient spatial patterns and urban structures that minimize the realization of human mobility needs. This structural change is made possible and promoted by active mobility. To the same extent as this happens, the necessity of motorized individual traffic will decrease.

Why active mobility is our topic and why it is the right topic

Short-range mobility in urban structures with short distances is the solution of many traffic and environmental problems if the distance can be and is covered on food or by bike. That is what we mean when we say active mobility.

It will increase the quality of your stay and the safety in the public domain. It creates equal mobility chances for all groups in society. And it will promote the physical and psychological health of all humans.

Neubiberg, October, 28th, 2015

About the author:
For many years, Jörg Schindler was managing director of LBST (Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik) and now he is director of ASPO Deutschland e.V.. He has spent many years discussing future relevant topics in the energy sector. For instance, he is also well-known for his numerous publications and as co-author of a series of technological books.

Many thanks to our guest author Jörg Schindler.

(Translated by EG)

Do come to the barcamp Active Mobility in Everyday Life !
The picture is my own work. I hereby authorize everybody to use it under common licence following the rules therein.

3 Kommentare zu “From Fossil Vehicle Movement to Post-Fossil Mobility. What is the Potential Positive Effect of Electric Cars?”

  1. Hans Bonfigt (Thursday October 29th, 2015)

    Das erinnert mich doch an das Motto der Degeneration Y,
    “Wozu Kraftwerke, bei uns kommt der Strom aus der Steckdose”.
    Der Gesamtwirkungsgrad eines Elektroautos ist märchenhaft schlecht – pro Kilometer frißt ein Elektromobil mehr fossile Ressourcen als ein aufgeplusterter BMW.
    Ein echter Vollhartzer fährt einen dicken Mercedes, um seine Minderwertigkeitskomplexe zu kompensieren. Dem braucht man also kein “Pedelec” zu schenken.

    “Tempolimits” nerven, verringern die Sicherheit im Straßenverkehr und erhöhen die Umweltbelastung.
    Schlauer wäre es, die Höchstleistung eines PKW auf 30 KW zu beschränken. Dann ändert sich ein automobiles Paradigma zum Guten:

    “Trotz eines Jahresgehaltes von 250.000 Euro sah Herr K. keine Veranlassung, mehr als 600 Kg mit in die Firma zu nehmen. Fiat Panda. Die tolle Kiste”.

    Diese Fahrzeuge kann man dann auch mit Wasserstoff betreiben, und damit sind zwei Probleme gelöst: a) das mit der Speicherung von Sonnenenergie (Wind und Photovoltaik) und b) die Vermeidung fossiler Ressourcen.
    Die Technik ist einsatzreif.
    Es wäre Zeit, eine Energiewende zu beginnen.
    Aber dazu müßte man einen Galgen für Sickmar und die FDJ-Trulla nicht nur reservieren, sondern gemäß Artikel 20 GG zielführend einsetzen.

  2. rd (Thursday October 29th, 2015)

    “Schlauer wäre es, die Höchstleistung eines PKW auf 30 KW zu beschränken”. Das ist in der Tat ein Vorschlag, der Sinn macht. Warum müssen private PKWs denn eigentlich immer so übermotorisiert sein?

  3. W. Damit (Wednesday November 4th, 2015)

    ” Warum müssen private PKWs denn eigentlich immer so übermotorisiert sein?”

    Damit der PKW auf über 220 kommt. Und das ist keine sinnlose Raserei, sondern für mich ein echter Gewinn an Frei- bzw. bedarfsweise zusätzlicher Arbeitszeit beim Kunden. Ich halte es nicht für einen Fortschritt, wenn der Individualverkehr in Zukunft langsamer wird – statt schneller.

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