Hybrid & Plug-in Hybrids
In hybrid vehicles, an internal combustion engine is combined with an electric motor to reduce fuel consumption and environmental impact. When braking, the electric motor converts the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electrical energy and thus charges the battery. At the same time, it acts as a starter for the combustion engine. If more power is required, the combustion engine is switched on. Hybrid vehicles are mostly seen as a bridging technology on the way to fully electrified mobility. A plug-in hybrid can additionally be charged via a power connection.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles use fuel cells to generate electrical energy from hydrogen. They have a long range and short refueling times of no more than 5 minutes, which makes them particularly interesting for long-distance trips. So far, however, there are only a few expensive hydrogen vehicles on the market, and the infrastructure for hydrogen refueling stations has not yet been expanded to cover the entire country. A forecast by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research also predicts that the excessively high prices for hydrogen will make its use as a fuel uneconomical in the long term.
Compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas
Vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) are a more environmentally friendly option because they emit less CO2 and pollutants than conventional internal combustion engines, but they have barely caught on. In contrast, LNG trucks are emerging as an attractive alternative to diesel trucks. LNG, or Liquefied Natural Gas, is liquefied natural gas that produces fewer CO2 emissions. Fleet managers have to reckon with an additional cost of around 35 percent for the purchase. In return, however, LNG trucks are fully exempt from tolls.
E-fuels are synthetic fuels produced with the help of renewable energies. Existing vehicles can also be refueled with it without having to be converted, but the production of e-fuels is currently still very expensive and their efficiency of 10 – 15 percent is also far below that of e-vehicles. These can convert around 80 – 90 percent of the initial energy.