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Transport & Environment
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Transport & Environment


The Department of Transport and Environment focuses on analysis of energy consumption and emissions of motorized transport systems as well as assessment of measures and strategies for reduction of transport-related environmental impacts. To this end, we carry out expertises commissioned by federal and state authorities, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and industry. In addition, we participate in various national and international expert panels.

For our main topics please have a look at the pane on the right.






Udo Lambrecht (+49 6221/ 4767-35;

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News from the department




Shifting Potential and Climate Effects caused by Pedelec use Patterns





Cover Studie29.10.2015 „Pedelecs have great potential to substitute car trips. This accounts especially for commuting trips up to 10 kilometers. Also for other common daily trips the pedelec had been the preferred vehicle choice instead of the former chosen car." These are the main findings of the recently conducted research project PEDELECTION.

The project had been funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. It was aimed to analyze shifting effects between the different vehicles types caused by pedelec use patterns. In cooperation with the Institut for Transportation Design (ITD, University of Braunschweig) ifeu investigated daily mobility use patterns in a field test. Additionally, an environmental assessment based on collected mobility data compares the climate effects before and after the test persons were introduced to pedelecs. Following the life cycle assessment (LCA) approach for different vehicles, further environmental effects caused by production, disposal and upstream emissions of the use phase could be considered.

The achieved results are a good starting point to develop incentives for a stronger integration of pedelecs into general mobility patterns and commuting patterns in particular.

PEDELECTION - Shifting Potential and Climate Effects caused by Pedelec use Patterns - Final Report (in German, pdf 11.5 MB)

More information… (Website ITD)

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Concept Energy Transition across Sectors developed





Cover Report13.10.2015 “To achieve climate protection goals in the most economical and cost-efficient manner, wind and solar energy ought to be developed into the most important primary energy sources across all sectors, including heat supply and mobility", researchers of two Fraunhofer Institutes, the ifeu Heidelberg and the Umweltenergierecht Foundation recently concluded. The three-year research project “Interactions of RE electricity, heating and transport” is based on a resolution of the German Bundestag and was funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The study infers “optimal structural development pathways for the heating and transport sectors". According to the authors during the presentation of results, “heat pumps and power-to-heat both in local and district heating systems, battery-electric vehicles and catenary trucks provide examples for future key technologies for the integration of the energy sectors electricity, heating and transport. This integration is associated with economic benefits and opens up a range of flexibility options for the maintenance of a reliable and safe energy supply.”

Interactions of RE Eletricity, Heating and Transport
Final Report (pdf 5,7 MB)
+ Short Version (pdf 924 KB) (in German)

More information… (in German)

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Transparent Information on Fuel Consumption urgently required for Electric Vehicles as well





Logo29.09.2015 User-specific and accurate fuel consumption data may actually be more important for electric vehicles than for conventional combustion engines. The official data from type-approval tests presented in advertising materials and sales brochures provide little information on the actual situation under real-world conditions. Moreover, individual user behaviour strongly influences the energy consumption of dedicated battery-electric passenger cars and hybrid-systems with combustion engines, so-called plug-in hybrids.

To provide a realistic assessment of potential savings associated with a switch to electric vehicles, ifeu is currently developing the web application ‘My eDrive’ in collaboration with the German Automobile Association ADAC. My eDrive will allow interested drivers of conventional cars a free virtual test drive of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. A smart phone app initially monitors and records the driving habits of the driver in his current vehicle. Based on these real-world data, costs, environmental impacts and mileage of current electric vehicle options are calculated.

We intend to test My eDrive in a trial period shortly and we would like to invite you to participate. Application materials and additional information may be found here ...




Increasing Divergence between Type Approval and real-world Fuel Consumption of Passenger Cars





Cover28.09.2015 It has been widely known for a number of years that both the fuel consumption of passenger cars and the associated greenhouse gas emissions are considerably higher on the road than under the type-approval test conditions reported in sales brochures. According to a recent analysis of the fuel consumption of approx. 600,000 vehicles registered in the EU between 2001 to 2014, carried out by the ICCT in collaboration with ifeu Heidelberg and TNO, the discrepancy between test results and real-world conditions has increased from about 8 % in 2001 to a present average of 40 %.

This finding indicates that our national climate goals are in serious jeopardy. Moreover, the loss in vehicle tax revenue amounts to hundreds of millions of Euro. The discrepancy between car manufacturer data and real-world conditions also puts the consumer at a disadvantage. On average, an additional annual investment of 450 € per user is required to bridge the gap between reported and actual fuel consumption. Reasons for the divergence between official data and real-world conditions may be found in the exploitation of loopholes in the type-approval process by car manufacturers and the omission of auxiliary consumers. To rectify the situation, a realistic new test procedure and the introduction of post-hoc tests are required.

Additional information and the study „From Laboratory to Road (icct-Website) may be found here... (Click to enlarge cover)




Technological GHG reduction potentials of heavy-duty vehicles and related costs!


Cover Page20.04.2015 Heavy-duty vehicles account for about a quarter of the GHG emissions in road transport at present. Current projections expect substantial increases of HDV transport in the future. Therefore, compliance with climate change mitigation goals and the minimisation of final energy consumption require a substantial reduction of the fuel consumption associated with heavy-duty vehicles.
ifeu Heidelberg in cooperation with Graz University of Technology have analysed fuel savings and GHG reduction potentials of technological measures (e.g. powertrain, aerodynamics, rolling resistance) using VECTO the designated simulation-based approach for the standardised quantification of CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in Europe.
Based on fuel savings of each measure and related changes of vehicle costs (investment and fuel costs), payback periods as well as specific GHG abatement costs have been estimated for the single technologies and for technology packages.

Download of the study (in German) and English summary...




Air Pollution from Mobile Machinery – ifeu Studies and Symposium


31.07.2014 Pollutant emissions from mobile machinery, i.e. construction machinery, agriculture and forestry equipment or petrol-fuelled tools for private households, have long been considered negligible in air quality monitoring and efforts for improvement. An ifeu study commissioned by the German Federal Environ­mental Agency (UBA) has tackled this preconception to test its validity (completed in 12/2013; now available as UBA publication 24/2014). "Particulate matter emissions from mobile machinery currently amount to the equivalent of the combined exhaust emissions of the entire road transport sector. For nitrogen oxides, mobile machinery emissions are equivalent to a quarter of overall road transport emissions. The limits for particulate matter and NOx stipulated in the European air quality standards are frequently exceeded in many German cities, thus mobile machinery has to be considered in air quality monitoring. Mobile machinery may play a minor role in overall background pollution levels, yet it could be responsible for considerable local pollution peaks."

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg (MVI) was eager to learn further details. Although pollutant levels in Baden-Württemberg are generally decreasing from year to year, several municipal monitoring facilities are reporting that limits are frequently exceeded. At present, ifeu is analysing the share of emissions from mobile machinery out of the overall pollutant emissions in Baden-Württemberg and how to approach regulation and avoidance of these emissions. In addition, the IVU Umwelt GmbH modelled emission dispersion for specific locations with known high pollutant loads. The Federal State of Baden-Württemberg is thus encouraged to reduce emissions from construction machinery, especially particulate matter, in the near future.

Results from the ifeu study were presented at the MVI symposium in Stuttgart on 17 July 2014 (Photograph: project leader Hinrich Helms) where a forum of about 100 experts in the field critically discussed the findings in context with other relevant talks. The debate focussed on the modification of official regulations in Baden-Württemberg to accelerate the introduction of particulate filters for construction machinery. State-of-the-art filter application has been shown to be the most effective measure to improve air quality for construction workers and local residents.

ifeu-Study for the German Federal Environmental Agency (Texte 24/2014)

ifeu-Study for the MVI-Baden-Württemberg (July 2014)

MVI Symposium July 17, 2014 – Press Release




Energy Efficiency of Light Duty Vehicles


Foto: Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Lizenz)09.01.2014 In an expert report for the German Federal Environment Agency, ifeu examined how the energy efficiency of future cars can be evaluated (with a large proportion of alternative drive systems).
Currently, environmental evaluation of cars is mainly based on tailpipe emissions. As emissions of alternative technology vehicles largely occur in the energy supply stage (rather than during vehicle operation), a paradigm shift towards an energy-based efficiency rating is necessary. The report highlights some options how this could be achieved.

Download the Report (in German with English Summary) ...




Empowerment of migrants for climate protection (EMIGMA)


Grafik Transdisziplinärer Ansatz 30.09.2013 ifeu The attitudes, environmental awareness and the related greenhouse gas emissions of Germans with a migrant background were investigated in a BMBF-funded research project carried out by the ifeu in collaboration with the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Prof. Hunecke, Prof. Toprak).

Central finding of the transdisciplinary project: Germans without a migrant background are more environmentally aware compared to those with migrant roots. However, the lifestyle choices of non-immigrant Germans on average place a greater burden on the climate. An important reason for this is the more frequent use of a car.

For further results, including findings on the level of involvement in environmental or migrant organisations of the groups of people under investigation, please see the related press release (Website FH Dortmund, available in German only).





Reduction of environmental burden by
plug-in hybrids -
results of "TwinDrive"
fleet test


Bild Elektroauto19.07.2013 Future market projections suggest a great potential for plug-in hybrids. These vehicles feature a combustion as well as an electric drive system and the battery can be charged externally at a conventional power outlet. But what are the real-life environmental advantages of plug-in hybrids in comparison to conventional car concepts?

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is funding different research projects dealing wit electric mobility as part of their focus area "Elektromobilität". The plug-in hybrid concept "TwinDrive", as one of the funded projects, was developed by Volkswagen during 2008 -2012 and tested with 20 vehicles. ifeu conducted the environmental accompanying research from a “cradle to grave” point of view. Thereby a significant potential for reduction of environmental burden by plug-in hybrids was discovered. Furthermore, it was observed that usage patterns have a considerable influence on the environmental performance of plug-in hybrid vehicles. This accounts particularly to the variable share of miles driven in electric mode. The marginal electricity mix used for charging the vehicles constitutes another influential parameter and depends heavily on the use of load balancing and intelligent charging schemes. The results of the fleet test and policy recommendations are now available in the final report (only German).

Download of the final report (in German, pdf 2,6 MB)

More information on the project...




Pedelec - Field Test: Participants Wanted!


08.02.2013 Electric two-wheelers in the fast lane: While the number of electric cars is growing only slowly, e-bikes (pedelec: pedal electric cycle) are enjoying a rising acceptance and are already common sights in our streets. 400.000 pedelecs have been sold in Germany alone during the last year. Therefore, the spectrum of two-wheeler concepts and potential mobility patterns has been significantly broadened, which also leads to new questions for mobility research. The German Federal Ministry for the Environment funds the project "Pedelection" which is conducted by the Institute for Transportation Design (University of Fine Arts Braunschweig) and ifeu. The research objective is to analyse potential modal shifts and associated environmental impacts.

Are you already owner of a pedelec or are you planning to purchase one in the near future? Are you interested in researching a new and exciting mobility phenomenon? If so, you are welcome to participate in our Pedelection research team. You will find all the relevant information here.




Environmental balances for electric mobility: interactive environment calculator is now online!


01.02.2012 Electric vehicles can provide an important contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector if electricity from renewable sources is used. In the UMBReLA project, with funding from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), ifeu provided the environmental assessment of BMU funded R&D projects regarding electric mobility in Germany over the last three years. The environmental performance of electric and conventionally fueled cars was compared over their entire life cycle. The results of the research are available now:

As an interactive environmental calculation (in German) where you one compare different types of vehicle concepts according to specific personal circumstances

Facts and figures on the UMBReLA project and to electric vehicles can be found on our homepage (in German)

Download of the comprehensive summary report as well as the in-depth scientific report
(in German)

Press release of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety on the UMBReLA project






Data Archiv


You can find additional articles in our Data Archiv ...

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