As mobility is an important part of our life, and the interconnectedness of the economy leads to more and more transport, we expect to see significant growth in freight as well as in passenger transport in the future. Forecasts predict that the global vehicle population – currently about 1.2 billion vehicles – will reach four billion by 2050. Global air traffic might increase 4.5-fold by 2050. Against the background of these developments, it is obvious that the energy supply for transport and the reduction of climate-damaging emissions will be among the major transport policy challenges of the 21st century.
Germany aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and up to 95 percent in 2050. The share of renewables in final energy consumption is set to be risen up to 60 percent by 2050. To fulfil these ambitions, the transport sector will have to reduce its absolute CO2 emissions, as well as shifting its energy source from fossil fuels to renewables, too. Transport thus also plays an important role in the transformation of our energy system. Without the transport sector’s contribution, this transformation will not succeed.
In its 2009 Coalition Agreement, the Federal Government announced that it would develop a mobility and fuels strategy which would not favour a specific technology and include all modes of transport. Until then, different energy options and technologies, numerous players and partners as well as different ongoing programmes and strategies have existed in parallel. All these options have been consolidated and discussed under one roof to develop the MFS. The 2004 Fuels Strategy has served as an important basis for this. The aim of MFS is not to organize a one-off event but rather to initiate a consistent and adaptive process whose conclusions are updated continuously. This is how the Mobility and Fuels Strategy is designed. The main focus is on a strategic understanding between government, industry and academia on the medium and long term prospects for fossil fuels and fuels based on renewable sources of energy and on promising drivetrain technologies as well as the supply infrastructures required for this. Also, it is to include not only passenger cars but all modes of transport. In order to ensure maximum transparency and participation and to achieve a broad-based consensus for the outcomes of the process, all major players were involved in the development of the MFS. It is only the sum total of the individual measures which will succeed in facilitating efficient, environmentally friendly and climate-friendly, quiet and clean mobility.
The process of developing the Mobility and Fuels Strategy
After a scoping study by the German Energy Agency (dena), the Mobility and Fuels Strategy has been launched with a major public event in Berlin on 9 June 2011. The work process was organised in several phases up to the spring of 2013. It focused on a broad-based dialogue process with around 400 businesses, associations and experts from society, industry and the scientific community. To ensure maximum transparency and participation and to achieve a broad-based consensus for the outcomes of the process, the Ministry engaged in a dialogue with all players.
The expert dialogue was launched with a workshop discussion in March 2012 that addressed the opportunities of the Mobility and Fuels Strategy in the light of national and international developments. In the subsequent first phase of the process, several workshops aimed at establishing a common level of knowledge among all players on the various energy and fuel options as well as on the drivetrain options for the individual modes of transport. Here, the focus was on assessing the current situation in the transport sector as well as on identifying opportunities and challenges. Any issues remaining unresolved were addressed and answers were sought in the subsequent expert discussions from the perspective of the scientific community and civil society. The outcome of the first round of dialogue was a revised basis of facts which is accepted by all stakeholders.
On this basis, a two-day expert forum gathered and structured options for action and measures. In four concluding workshops, scenarios of measures were developed and recommendations were given which then formed the basis for the development of the Mobility and Fuels Strategy by the Federal Government.
The MFS addresses many different issues: How much energy saving potential can still be unlocked in traditional internal combustion engines? What is the significance of natural gas, especially for modes of transport which so far have been exclusively dependent on oil, such as shipping? What about the roll-out of battery powered cars and the prospects for fuel cell powered vehicles, especially in the HGV sector? How do we provide vehicles with “green” electricity or hydrogen and how much energy and CO2 emissions can Germany save doing so?
The role of biofuels is a key issue as well. As part of the Mobility and Fuels Strategy, the potentials of biofuels will be identified. Also, the difficult question will be addressed as to whether the use of biofuels should be reserved for sectors or modes of transport which have no major technical possibilities to reduce energy consumption, such as road haulage or aviation.
The outcome of this process is a strategy for the transport sector that will provide solutions to energy and climate challenges. As an adaptive strategy, the Mobility and Fuels Strategy is constantly in adaptation. In doing so, particular consideration will have to be given to a changing environment and new technological developments.