Electric vehicles and wind or solar power are an ideal combination – mobile and zero emissions
Further improving the traditional combustion engine is an important tool when it comes to reducing CO₂ emissions, but by itself it won't be enough to make transportation climate-friendly. The technology in modern cars with combustion engines gets more and more efficient and individual fuel consumption is decreasing. However, that progress is outweighed by the steady increase of the total number of vehicles throughout the world and the number of kilometers driven. If the global number of cars doubles by 2030 – as expected – and low- or zero-emission cars don't account for a significant share of those additional vehicles, then global CO₂-emissions will rise sharply once again – with the corresponding impact on the climate. Furthermore, the global oil reserves are finite and the price of oil will further increase in the long-term.
Electric vehicles can help here but only if the electricity they use comes from renewable sources like wind or solar. Only then do they become true zero-emission vehicles that protect the environment and the climate. This "green" image that electric cars have will increasingly become a buying incentive and thus a competitive advantage for manufacturers. Furthermore, electric vehicles not only reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses but also the pollution with nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and noise significantly.
Few people are aware that the continuously growing share of green electricity distributed through our power grids requires intelligent solutions in terms of grid management and energy storage technologies. That's because the amount of wind and solar energy generated fluctuates strongly and during peak times there can be a surplus of energy that energy market cannot absorb due to limited storage capacity. That happens when strong winds turn wind turbines at night, for example, a time when energy consumption drops to a minimum. This excess electricity from renewable sources could be used to charge the batteries in electric vehicles, which are attached to the grid as flexible "electricity consumers" while they are parked.
Modern technology assures that the owner of an electric vehicle can easily and conveniently control the charging times – via an internet interface, for example. He or she simply enters "battery fully charged tomorrow at 7 a.m." and the rest is taken care of by the technology. This guarantees that the full battery power is available when it is desired. The higher the number of such decentralized and time sensitively charged energy storages in electric cars, the easier it will be to supply renewable zero-emissions energy to the grid.
The connection to the power grid can be established using intelligent plugs. However, in the future, cordless inductive charging will be possible as well. Cordless charging systems are convenient and support the use of fluctuating energy sources: If you drive over the coil of a cordless charging station in your garage or in a parking garage, a driver assistance system (analogous to today's automatic parking assistance) automatically positions the vehicle and connects it to the power grid. Most vehicles are parked 23 hours a day anyway and this convenient system increases the amount of time they remain connected to the grid and thus the opportunities to store excess renewable energy in their batteries.