”The Next Decade Will Be An Orientation Phase”

IAV develops scenarios for the energy sources and powertrains after 2030

Which energy sources will define mobility around 2030 and beyond? What will this mean for automotive engineering? Robert Mayer and Nick Elsner work in trend scouting and innovation management at IAV and, in the automotion interview, take a look at the future of mobility, powertrains and energy sources.

Which major driving forces will change mobility in future?

Robert Mayer: A major impact will come from the further growth of cities, autonomous driving and future legislation. Let us first take a look at urbanization. In future, mobility in inner cities will, to an increasing extent, be free from emissions. Singapore, for example, is planning to keep private cars out of the city center by 2030 and replace them with new mobility solutions and alternative urban concepts. These vehicles will be electrified and autonomous. In addition to this, urban areas will see more and more “mobility on demand – use rather than own”. In future, most cars will belong to a service provider and no longer to their passengers, possible resulting in a fewer number of vehicle models. It is already clear now that connectivity is a subject that will play an ever greater part in the vehicle. In future, the connectivity options available or offered will be a key function in respect of vehicle diversification. But it is also evident that the solution for Singapore cannot be a solution for a city like Berlin. Each region will need to find its own way.

Nick Elsner: The climate and energy efficiency targets set by countries will also be a major driver. CO2 emissions are to fall significantly, and the transport sector is called upon to make a noticeable contribution in this regard. Germany is planning to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by a least 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. In this regard, the transport sector is to reduce GHG emissions by at least 40 percent. And by 2030, the EU is aiming to reduce GHG emissions by 40 percent in comparison to 1990 (you will find more details on this in the information box).

What to these drivers mean for automotive engineering?

Elsner: Besides a possible reduction in model variety, shorter renewal cycles could also be necessary in future for vehicle fleets. With a sharp increase in the demand for car sharing, for example, they would be used far more intensively than in private ownership. And, as already mentioned, the focus in automotive engineering will shift from the drive systems and move toward the connectivity options. Mobile internet, car-2-car and car-2-X being just some of the keywords in this regard. And, of course, semi- and fully automated vehicles for personal transport and shuttle traffic will then dominate development.

What are you expecting on the powertrain front?

Mayer: Generally speaking, with less model variety, most of tomorrow’s powertrains are expected to be modular in structure and, depending on vehicle class, come with an optimum combination of combustion engine and electric motor in order to meet CO2 fleet limits. IAV presented one approach to this at the Berlin Powertrain Symposium in the form of the Powertrain 2025. The majority of fleets will be electrified, either as hybrid or battery electric vehicles.

Which energy sources will dominate mobility around 2030?

Elsner: It is hard to make an accurate and market- specific prediction, as was also shown by the last Berlin Powertrain Symposium. The consensus there was that the next decade will be a kind of orientation phase. On the European passenger car market, there will be a clear shift in the percentage shares of the various energy sources in new registrations by 2030. Besides gasoline for light to mediumweight concepts and diesel for heavy-weight hybrid vehicles, there is currently much to suggest that battery electric vehicles will account for a high share of the market, significantly increasing the demand for electricity as a source of energy. If electricity from renewable energies is taken as basis for possible paths to future energy sources, the direct use of battery electric vehicles doubtlessly makes the most sense from the perspective of energy efficiency and the resultant demand for electricity. Added to this is the fact that national legislations within Europe will, in part, heavily boost electric mobility, and a number of automobile manufacturers have announcedmodel campaigns for the beginning of the coming decade, with increasing investment being made in the necessary charging infrastructure.

For light commercial vehicles, in contrast, the combustion engine based on the diesel combustion process may remain a key element. Here it will be important to match the degree of hybridization to usage needs in cities and townships. One exception, however, will be “last mile” delivery vehicles. The trend – already in progress now – towards full electrification will become established as the standard. For specific commercial vehicle sectors, such as long-haulage trucks, it is unlikely, even in ten years, that all-electric concepts will be in a position to meet existing mobility requirements, making e-fuels an attractive alternative to diesel fuel for the compression ignition engine. Alternatively, fuel cell systems may also be able to meet the demands on long-haulage truck transport provided the necessary hydrogen infrastructure is created.

Can hydrogen play a key part as a source of energy?

Mayer: Fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen will become an option for passenger cars if battery electric concepts fail to increase the traveling range for consumers to a distance of 400 to 500 kilometers and a comprehensive quick-charging network is not available. On top of this, high investments are needed in a hydrogen infrastructure which, however – and assuming fleet penetration is high – may be less expensive than for an all-electric battery charging infrastructure. Although the hydrogen infrastructure is to be extended to 400 filling stations within the H2-MOBILITY Program by 2023, the efforts being made here are currently not as great as they are in building the charging infrastructure for battery electric vehicles.

What is also needed is an economically sound storage concept that is capable of buffering the high surpluses of electricity resulting at times from the ever-growing share of renewable energies and, in this way, making them accessible for use across all sectors. An appropriate option here is to produce hydrogen by means of electrolysis using surplus electricity generated from renewable resources which will additionally help to take the strain off the power grids.

Will gaseous-fuel vehicles still be an attractive option in 2030?

Elsner: CNG-powered vehicles are known to emit up to 25 percent less CO2 than a gasoline engine vehicle which, in terms of CO2 emissions, makes them climate-friendlier in the usage phase. This means they can help to meet future fleet limit values. In addition, Germany’s large natural gas grid is already available as a distribution and storage infrastructure. However, unlike natural gas of fossil origin, this fuel will in future come from other sources: biogas or power-to-gas plants. In comparison to biomethane, methane produced synthetically on the basis of renewable electricity has far greater potential to make a significant contribution to sustainable mobility.

Trend Scouting and Innovation Management at IAV

The cross-divisional “Trend Scouting and Innovation Management” function has been in place at IAV since the middle of 2017. This emphasis here is on longer-term developments that will come to bear in the period from 2030 to 2050, IAV experts are developing various scenarios using environment analyses and associated influencing factors, such as familiar megatrends (e.g. urbanization), future mobility behavior, resource sustainability or future climate laws. They show what the future may hold in store and which trends and technologies IAV should be looking at even today. Some of the key questions in this context are: how will the automotive world develop in future? Which powertrains and energy sources will then dominate? And what must be developed now to be prepared for the future?

Energy and Climate: Targets and Forecasts for 2030 to 2040

Forecasts of the trend in energy demand: higher energy efficiency is to reduce the demand for primary energy in the European Union by 11 percent in 2030 compared to 2016, and by 18 percent in 2040. Worldwide, however, it is set to increase by 16 percent by 2030 over 2016 levels, and even 28 percent by 2040. The main causes for this are population growth as well as the dynamic development of new markets in China, India, Africa, South- East Asia and the Middle East. Depending on the future regulatory framework, the share of renewable energies in global final energy consumption will be between 13 and 28 percent in 2040. In 2016, it was only 9 percent.

Greenhouse gas targets and energy policy: By 2030, the EU is aiming to emit at least 40 percent less CO2 equivalents than in 1990. It also plans to reach a share of renewable energies in final energy consumption of at least 32 percent (2016: 17 %) and a rise in energy efficiency by 32.5 percent in comparison to a development without further efforts to improve efficiency. By 2030, Germany is planning to obtain 30 percent of its final energy from renewable sources (2016: 14.6 %) and increase the share of renewable energies in gross power consumption to 65 percent (2017: 36.2 %). With regard to greenhouse gases, there are plans to reduce the CO2 equivalents by 2030 by 55 percent in comparison to 1990 (2017 level: -27.7 %), whereby emissions from the transport sector are to fall by at least 40 percent and emissions in the energy sector by at least 61 percent.

CO2 legislation for the transport sector: For passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, the EU is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030 in comparison to 2020 (tank to wheel). This is to be based on the WLTC fleet values in 2020. It may be possible to include LCA-based credits, e.g. for well to tank or well to wheel.