Electric Vehicles for Climate-friendly Mobility in China

Several small electric cars at a charging station in China

Electric vehicles at a charging station; Photo: GIZ China

Last month, Chinese national and local authorities, automobile companies, NGOs and leading research institutes met with representatives from the German Environmental Ministry (BMUB) at the final workshop of the Sino-German Project “Electro Mobility and Climate Protection in China”. One of the key results was the presentation of scenarios showing possible emissions reductions of up to 70%.

Since 2010, China and Germany have put their cooperation on electro-mobility and its promotion high on the agenda. The bilateral cooperation on electric vehicles (EVs) has been strengthened on a wide range of topics. Part of it is the Sino-German cooperation project on Electro-Mobility and Climate Protection in China, funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the BMUB and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The project aims to provide the technical background for developing strategies on the climate-friendly development of electric vehicles as well as its integration into a sustainable transport system.

Big streets with many cars infront of skyscrapers in Beijing

Project results were shared at a workshop on November 4, 2016 in Beijing. In his opening remarks, Dr. Nobert Salomon (Deputy Director General of the division Immission Control, Safety of Installations and Transport – BMUB) noted the significant role of electric vehicles in regard to climate protection: “Germany is also interested in the valuable experience that China has gained from the development of electric vehicles. We hope we can profit from each other.” Ms. She Weizhen (Head of Automotive Industry Division – Ministry of Industry and Information Technology – MIIT) added that “This cooperation facilitated our policy dialogue as well as a technical exchange between the industries from Germany and China. We hope we can further cooperate on the relevant topics and make joint efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Speaker infront of presentation on electro mobility in China

As a key result of the project, the Environmental Impact Assessment of Vehicle Electrification was presented. Compared to gasoline cars - electric vehicles could already show a positive impact on CO2 reduction, even at the current energy mix in China. Based on a scenario analysis, a large promotion of electric vehicles could help decrease the annual CO2 emissions from Light Duty Passenger Vehicle (LDPV) to 0.24 billion tons in 2050. A remarkably high share of electric vehicles in the fleets and a high renewable energy ratio would lead to a 70% emissions reduction compared to the current status in China. Electric vehicles could also bring co-benefits to the cities. Vehicle fleet electrification could reduce particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations and NO2 concentrations in urban areas of China. Therefore, the capital of China plans to fully electrify its bus fleet within its fifth-ring road in the next 2-3 years.

Big bus stopping next to side walk

Apart from the decarbonisation of the power sector, the energy efficiency of vehicles themselves must be taken into account to improve the climate protection effect of electric vehicles. The project has worked together with the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) to assess different measures for calculating the energy consumption of electric vehicles and to evaluate its impact on the overall energy saving target of the automobile sector. The project findings showed that electric vehicles will gradually obtain increasing advantages regarding energy efficiency compared to gasoline/diesel cars, as the renewable energy share in China is continuously increasing. The compliance stringency for traditional vehicles could thus be influenced by the energy efficiency of electric vehicles and their market share in the future. The project results will be provided as technical support and a reference for the related authorities in China.

The results presented at the workshop outlined the potential positive effect of electric vehicles on energy-saving and emission reductions in the transport sector, as well as on the improvement of urban air quality. China and Germany both expressed their intentions to further cooperate on the low-carbon development of the transport sector.