In November 2018, Austrian Company AVL organized the conference Product Development in Motion 2018 at Chalmers. It was a conference for the engineers of tomorrow where they could get insights into today's rapidly evolving engineering industry and the trends that they need to know to support the development of future mobility.
One important aspect is that since the combustion engine will be an integral part of a connected electrified propulsion system, it should be developed with that in mind, but increased efficiency, renewable fuels, unconventional control strategies and near-zero emissions require research.
But what is the most climate-friendly today, a car with an electric motor or a car with an internal combustion engine?
The answer to the question is, of course, that it depends. A small electric car with a small battery recharged with renewable energy such as solar energy is very climate-friendly but as soon as you want to drive long distances that require a bigger battery and start charging the battery with electricity produced through combustion of fossil fuels, significant amounts of CO2 are produced over a lifecycle; from the manufacturing of the battery to the propulsion of the vehicle.
"Compared with the latter, for example, a new diesel car fueled with 50% renewable fuel can be a lot more climate-friendly. The car, engine, driving style, driving conditions and electricity mix are part of a complex system and therefore the answers are never easy," says Lucien Koopmans.
However, something that Lucien Koopmans easily states is that more research is needed on both electric cars and combustion engines. A hybrid that uses a large proportion of renewable fuel is the most attractive, cost-effective and climate-friendly transport solution for most vehicle users in a foreseeable future, both for passenger cars and freight transport on the road.
"Regardless of future scenario, several generations of internal combustion engines will be manufactured and they have a great potential to reach a zero emission scenario with unexplored technologies," says Lucien Koopmans.
Text: Christian Boström
Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist