Which vehicle is the most environmentally friendly? (part 1)

Which vehicle is the most environmentally friendly? (part 1)

  • Posted by Gerhard Pramhas
  • On 5. September 2021


Anyone who is concerned with technology and also with environmental protection cannot avoid this question: Which vehicle is the most environmentally friendly? For me as a management consultant with the expertise of an engineering firm, this is one of the most important questions for the upcoming years. Politicians are undoubtedly in the process of fixing the course for subsidies and the legal framework in terms of environmentally friendly transport. Does this development go into the right direction? Should we let politicians, regardless of the party, make those fundamental decisions? Which lobbyists are concerned with the topic?

In my professional practice I have good experience with the ZDF principle. No, ZDF does not stand for a German television programme. In fact, ZDF stands for numbers, dates, facts. When we talk about those terms we will not be able to not speak about science and evidences. In order to gain more knowledge about the leading question (,,Which vehicle is the most environmentally friendly?’’) I bought a specialist book called ,, Kosteneffiziente und nachhaltige Automobile’’ by Martin Zapf, Hermann Pengg, Thomas Bütler, Christian Bach and Christian Weindl.

The book was published by ,,Springer Verlag’’ in 2019. I decided to read the e-book edition (ISBN number 978-3-658-24060-8). The employers of the authors are the Institute High-Voltage Technology of the Coburg University, the Audi AG in Germany and EMPA (Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt in Dübendorf, Switzerland).

Definition of environmental friendliness of vehicles

The first third of the book shows a very fundamental and scientific approach. The system boundaries, under which we have to consider the environmental performance of vehicles, are defined. The most important passage is the definition that only ‘cradle to grave’ is significant. In other words: What are the total greenhouse gas emissions of a transport system from construction to action to disposal. Mostly there is only compared the ‘battery to wheel’ consumption of electric cars with the ‘tank to wheel’ consumption of cars with a combustion engine. These definition fall too short.

However, I am going to tell you about the end of the book in my next blog post. Until then, I am interested in your thoughts regarding the topic ‘Ecofriendly vehicles’!

Please contact me via gerhard@pramhas.eu or discuss with me on LinkedIn!