Company electric vehicles: GHG mitigation potentials

A study conducted within the scope of the Future Fleet project has found that battery electric vehicles could make up a fifth of SAP Germany’s company cars by 2030. If plug-In hybrid vehicles, which are powered by both an electric and a conventional propulsion system, are also taken into account, this total could even reach up to 80 per cent of the company’s car fleet. In this way, approx. half of the CO2 emissions could be saved by 2030 compared to a conventionally powered fleet. This is the finding of researchers at Oeko-Institut who analysed the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potentials of battery electric vehicles in a fleet test at SAP Germany.

Oeko-Institut cooperated with the Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE) for the study. ISOE analysed the usage behaviour and the acceptance of electrically powered vehicles amongst SAP Germany’s staff. Both institutes assessed in detail the data of 27 battery electric vehicles in SAP Germany’s company car and pool fleet within the scope of the Future Fleet project. For more than half a year and for a total of 90,000 kilometres driven, data was collected on when the electric vehicles were used, what journeys were made, and when they were charged.

GHG mitigation potentials of company electric vehicles

Since in Germany approx. 60 per cent of newly registered passenger cars are company cars, a reduction in their emissions can make a key contribution to climate protection. However, for this to be the case, the electricity used to charge the company electric vehicles needs to come from additional renewable energies.

“If the analysed potentials for SAP Germany are used to make projections for the usage of electric company vehicles in Germany as a whole, approx. 40 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions of company cars could be saved by 2030 compared to a conventionally powered car fleet,” says Peter Kasten, a researcher at Oeko-Institut who specialises in electric mobility. “Due to long journeys frequently being made, it is necessary – particularly in the case of company cars – for battery electric vehicles to be supplemented by plug-in hybrids to fully tap the GHG mitigation potentials.”

Growing acceptance for company electric vehicles

“Although many drivers tended not to have much specific knowledge about the actual characteristics of electric vehicles at the start of the fleet test, approx. a fifth of those surveyed can today envisage purchasing such a company car in the next three years,” says Jutta Deffner of ISOE of the survey findings. “The greatest barriers for users were the low range of electric vehicles and the significantly higher purchase costs.”

To aid the acceptance of battery electric vehicles as company cars, it would therefore be conceivable to have a car pool which includes conventional passenger cars which can be used for longer journeys, added Oeko-Institut. There also needs to be an option for longer journeys made privately; in the field test the privately owned second car was more often used for this purpose. The shorter, day-to-day journeys – which make up 98 per cent of all journeys on work days and 90 per cent at the weekend – could be made with an electric vehicle.

The partners with Oeko-Institut in the Future Fleet project were the MVV Energie Group, Hochschule Mannheim – University of Applied Sciences and the Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE), under the project leadership of SAP Germany.

Further information [in German]

Oeko-Institut’s study “Future Fleet – integrating electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in corporate fleets” [in German], funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

Oeko-Institut’s background paper on electric mobility [in German]

Oeko-Institut’s “Autos unter Strom” brochure [in German], produced within the scope of the OPTUM project

The Future Fleet research project website:

Contact at Oeko-Institut

Peter Kasten
Researcher, Infrastructure & Enterprises Division
Oeko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology), Berlin office
Phone: +49 30 405085-349

Oeko-Institut is a leading independent European research and consultancy institute working for a sustainable future. Founded in 1977, the institute develops principles and strategies for ways in which the vision of sustainable development can be realised globally, nationally and locally. It has offices in three cities in Germany: Freiburg, Darmstadt and Berlin.

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