Whether it be by bus, train, airplane, or one’s private car – reliable mobility has now come to be taken for granted, and worldwide mobility requirements will continue to increase in future. Strong growth is already apparent in emerging countries such as China and India. Today’s transportation media are largely powered by energy from non-regenerative (fossil) energy carriers. In view of dwindling global crude oil reserves and the long-term aims of climate policy, a fundamentally new approach to mobility is called for that gives due consideration to sustainable development.
The research issues investigated by the Working Group on Energy and Mobility extend to the ecological-technological analysis and optimization of existing and future transportation media, drive technologies, and mobility concepts. Alternative drives present a special challenge here. Besides the use of new technologies (e.g. battery systems or the fuel cell), the everyday suitability and environmental performance of the vehicle and usage concepts are also undergoing examination. In fleet tests, real data are acquired from vehicle concepts in various fields of application and are integrated into the Life Cycle Assessments. The aim of these investigations is to find the optimal transportation media and drive concepts under the specific framework conditions and requirements of the fields of application examined (e.g. individual or commercial transportation). On the basis of this acquired knowledge, it is ensured that the available vehicle concepts are used wherever they offer the greatest added value in both technological and ecological terms.
A further research topic is concerned with the appropriate networking of the available transportation media and the development of intelligent mobility concepts. Complex simulation models for the Life Cycle Assessment of individual vehicles or vehicle fleets allow the ecological impact to be analyzed already in the design phase of new concepts and optimization measures derived.