Handelsblatt vom 26. Aug. 2020, S. 10
Although the majority of motorists drive less than 100 kilometres per day, for which a small battery is actually sufficient, they want to be sure that further journeys are possible without recharging. Pure electric cars therefore have ever larger batteries, the production of which is expensive and polluting. A massive expansion of charging stations is not economically viable because it is usually charged at home or at work, and therefore requires substantial state subsidies.
The automotive industry offers an alternative: Conventional cars with a large combustion engine and large tank are combined with a small electric auxiliary motor and a small battery. However, since electricity is about as expensive as using fuel and refuelling is much more complicated, reports are not implausible that many of these vehicles rarely come into contact with a power outlet. Through massive government support, these incinerator hybrid cars are increasingly being sold as an environmentally friendly alternative – without much environmental benefit.
More effective for environmental protection are electric cars with a small battery sufficient for everyday use and – in contrast to the combustion hybrid car – a small combustion engine,a „range extender“, which only charges the battery in an emergency and therefore only needs a small tank. In addition, the second powertrain is no longer required. The bottom line is that this will significantly reduce weight and costs and ensure the widest possible electricity operation.
Unfortunately, there are always days and weeks almost without renewable power generation (dark flauts). For electric cars without an auxiliary engine, additional reserve power plants must therefore be installed, which, like the auxiliary engine, are powered by fossil energy. But even if there is sufficient power plant power capacity available in principle, even the most well thought-out charging management can lead to grid bottlenecks without an auxiliary motor, the secure avoidance of which requires expensive grid expansion. It is therefore questionable to what extent electric cars without an auxiliary engine are a model for the traffic of the future and do not lead to a dead end.
But if electric cars with auxiliary engines have so many advantages, why are they not offered in Germany – apart from an electric transporter – but, for example, like the BMW i3 with Range Extender only in the USA? One reason is the German support policy. The decisive advantages of electric cars with auxiliary motors are not taken into account in the current state support. Compared to combustion cars with a small additional electric motor, they are not preferred and are even disadvantaged compared to electric cars without an auxiliary engine.
In order for the ecological turnaround in transport policy to work, the macroeconomic benefits of electric cars with auxiliary engines should be brought to bear through appropriate state support.