For thirty years now car manufacturers, experts, academics, users and public decision-makers, among many other specialists, meet each year to discuss how to promote the use of electric cars. This year, the EVS30 or Electric Vehicle Symposium was held in Stuttgart, one of the world’s key cities for the automobile industry since it was here that Gottlieb Daimler was born, manufactured his first car and set up his manufacturing business. To celebrate this 30th anniversary, a document known as the Stuttgart Declaration 2017 was drafted, entitled “The New Clean Era of Mobility”.
This manifesto, which is divided into three different parts, is mainly aimed at the world leaders who will attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn from November 6th to 17th this year.
Firstly, the manifesto issues “a message of hope”, with a view to mitigating the effects of climate change due to the benefits that the electrification of our vehicles represents, based on the sufficient potential that we have to manufacture electric cars on a large scale.
Another message of hope is the fact that the automobile industry is willing to make the move from the production of vehicles with an internal combustion engine and to steadily increase the number of electric vehicles that it manufactures. These are vehicles that require far less energy than a conventional one to operate their drive train (between 50 and 80% less, mainly due to the efficiency of electric motors).
Another strength mentioned in the manifesto is the fact that the car battery of electric vehicles can be connected to the grid, since this will lead to more efficient use of electricity and the regulation of the electricity network, production of energy and resulting economic and environmental costs. The manifesto also highlights the fact that drivers of electric cars are more willing to install solar panels in their homes.
Secondly, the declaration puts forward good reasons why it is worth opting for an electric vehicle, starting with improvements to car batteries. As technology advances, more powerful batteries with a greater capacity will be produced and their price will drop due to the market economy. In addition, these batteries will have an increasingly long lifecycle. The document makes it clear that, today, the CO2 emissions released by an electric car can be 13 times less than those of a conventional one.
The impacts of the electrification of our vehicles are all positive, with no unwanted secondary effects. Even though material needs and mining are taken into account in lifecycle analyses of the manufacture and maintenance of electric vehicles, in comparison with conventional ones, the former always comes out winning.
As for charge stations, the declaration says that most investment into them is being made by commercial and private stakeholders, since the commercial charge point business involves the construction of infrastructure that is fundamental for electric vehicles, and electricity companies are also coming up with specific products for electric car users, thus ensuring the financial viability of private charge points.
The reasons section of the manifesto closes by saying that the move to electric vehicles is a one-way street, since people who switch to electric cars are unwilling to go back to a conventional one again because an electric car is a status symbol.
The declaration’s third and final point deals with the measures that politicians can introduce to boost the demand for electric vehicles and facilitate their production, as a kind of incentive policy on the part of administrations.
The signatories also add that the consequences of lagging behind when electric vehicles really take off could be “brutal” for regions that have not kept abreast of events and they advise these regions to build up the necessary knowledge so that they can make the most of it.
The key to the success of electric vehicles, the declaration assures readers, is to guarantee increasing production levels and ongoing sales. No specific policies are recommended, since “very different policies have produced equally good results in the past”, although it also calls for no cheating and mentions the manipulation of car emission tests.
Lastly, it highlights how important it is for R&D to result in real sales of electric vehicles, as the driving force behind change.
The manifesto ends by saying that the “large-scale production of electric vehicles and their ecosystems, components and services begins now.”