It is a fact that, in ten years from now, there will be a significant rise in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). Manufacturers of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have decided to invest a big part of their funds on the development of batteries and electric motors. In almost all Western world countries, the number of circulating electric cars is climbing and has reached a double-digit market share in some of them. In Greece we are lagging behind in infrastructure and education that are indispensable for the gradual transition to the new electric era of the automotive industry, which is undoubtedly on its way. We need to take careful steps so as to prepare Greece’s public sector and consumers for these new developments. Our actions should be based on experience from other countries and good practices applied by countries such as Norway, which is the leader in electromobility. For example, we could “electrify” a small island such as Koufonissi, Symi, Spetses or Trizonia, so as to have a full picture of potential problems under scale.
In Greece, many Euro 4 emission standard cars – or even older ones – are imported and circulate in the streets, when all other EU countries are taking measures to phase them out. The circulation of old vehicles should be discouraged with the legislation of counter-incentives regarding their use, especially in city centers. Their pollutant and microparticle emissions suffocate the atmosphere and cause serious health problems to thousands of people who live in Athens and other big cities, while their obsolete active and passive safety systems pose unnecessary risks to their passengers. The cost of all this is incurred by all Greeks through the insurance system.
The 3rd Auto Forum aims at highlighting the transitional stage that the automotive industry in our country is going through so as to outline the framework and the steps that need to be taken towards the right direction. As the Athens population is currently 6 million when the road network of the capital was designed for 1.5 million people, it is of vital importance to take the proper action to reduce pollution and traffic.
In Greece, the automotive sector is characterized by the following paradox: decades-old private and public vehicles are still being used, despite the disproportionate maintenance cost. Due to misinformation, many people have adopted erroneous mentalities and believe in theories supporting that old cars are safer and more reliable than new ones. In the center of Athens, for instance, it is not uncommon to see a 20-year-old SUV with permanent all-wheel drive next to a hyper-modern plug in hybrid model with engine which is not activated within urban areas.
PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles), BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles), MHEVs (Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles) or HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) pollute less, however, they are not totally pollution-free. The main question is, what is their total pollution rate compared to cars with diesel or natural gas engines?
According to a study published by IFO Schnelldienst institute in Munich, electric cars do not contribute to the decrease in carbon dioxide emissions much more than diesel engine vehicles. In this study, three cars were used: an electric Tesla, a diesel engine Mercedes C 220d and a Mercedes C Class with a natural gas engine. The conclusion was that Tesla Model 3’s carbon footprint during its life cycle is similar to that of a diesel-engine Mercedes. In Germany, the Dieselgate scandal caused market disturbance, but consumers did not turn to electric cars designed mostly for city use. About 35% of Germans still prefer diesel-engine cars.
The goal of the study was to estimate the carbon footprint of the three cars after 150,000 kilometers.
The results were surprising, as the Tesla had 156-182 gr CO2/km, the Mercedes C 220d 141 gr CO2/km and the C-LNG 100 gr CO2/km! It should be noted that the Tesla was tested according to the NEDC while the other two vehicles according to the WLTP testing system, which is more strict.
Electric and conventional cars emit the same quantity of CO2 in their production stage, about 8.6 tons. Of these, 4.9 tons of CO2 are related to manufacturing of materials and 1.9 tons of CO2 are emitted during production and assembly. A surprising discovery was that about 1.5 tons of CO2 was emitted during manufacture of Tesla’s parts when only 1 ton was emitted during manufacture of Mercedes 220d parts. The reason is mostly related to battery production. The research concludes that further development of CNG engines or fuel cells would be a step to the right direction.
So what is the future of the automotive industry?
It is crucial to hear from the people who define the future of the automotive industry, i.e. the executives of the biggest car manufacturers in the world, what their plans for the sector are. Which direction will they take in the next years? What will be the changes in the vehicles’ design and operation?
An increase in the circulation of hybrid and electric cars means that they will eventually be involved in traffic accidents, despite their modern active safety systems. A possible leakage of electric current or dangerous battery fluids should be dealt with by properly trained rescuers, especially in cases where people are trapped inside vehicles. It is very important that car manufacturers work together with the Traffic Police and the Fire Department in order to design proper training programs where professional rescuers will be taught how to identify hybrid and electric models and how to act in every situation.
The 3rd Auto Forum offers a unique opportunity to discuss the problems of the automotive sector in Greece and present to the Greek public the international trends and technological advancements in the car industry, while at the same time constituting a platform of communication for all interested parties, which will allow them to take action and legislative initiatives.
Panel 1: Risks related to the circulation of obsolete vehicles in Greece. Counter-incentives to discourage their use
- Active-passive safety of old vehicles
- Pollutant emissions
- Economic analysis of the disadvantages of their use
- Measures to discourage consumers from buying old vehicles
- Increase of insurance cost for old vehicles
Panel 2: Promotion of electromobility, infrastructure, networks, power stations, specifications of charging equipment
- Use of electric vehicles for public transportation
- Creation of public charging stations
- Development of power stations
- Specifications for home charging equipment
- Electric power sufficiency
- Insurance of electric vehicles and chargers
- Recycling of batteries, use of batteries in photovoltaic installations and windmills
Panel 3: Electromobility and road safety
- Advantages of electric vehicles regarding passive safety
- Extrication of passengers from electric vehicles
- Leakage of battery fluids after traffic accidents
The 3rd Auto Forum is an initiative unprecedented in Greece which constitutes an innovative effort to educate on a sector where we are lagging behind and need to start taking action on multiple levels. During the event there will be workshops and round-table discussions where key issues such as the average age of motor vehicles in our country, the drafting of proposals for the appropriate legal framework and the coordination of effective courses of action on the training of rescuers on new types of cars, will be analyzed in detail.