September 4, 2015

When is it worth switching to electric vehicles? – Online tool helps fleet operators decide

Taxi companies, car-sharing providers, company cars – vehicle fleets play an important role when it comes to bringing electromobility to the roads and making it visible. But replacing traditionally fuelled vehicles with electric vehicles must also make sense financially. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed an that fleet operators can use to calculate the conditions under which the use of electric vehicles will be worthwhile.

Detailed scenarios for fleet operators

The software developed by researchers at the DLR Institute of Vehicle Conceptsunder the EU-Projekt I-CVUE (Incentives for Cleaner Vehicles in Urban Europe) EU project can be used for free after registration. It is initially aimed at fleet operators and can, in minutes, calculate the total cost per vehicle. “In order to create the best possible basis for making decisions, we considered a wide range of criteria and assumptions,” explains Christoph Schimeczek, who manages the project at the DLR site in Stuttgart. These include, for example, incentives such as tax breaks and depreciation options, as well as assumptions about changes in petrol and electricity prices, repair, maintenance and insurance costs, and the total mileage and spread of the mileage throughout the year.

Database for seven European countries

The users can work entirely with a predetermined reference data set. Alternatively, they can change individual assumptions and incorporate their own data into the calculation, thus generating different scenarios. “Compared to other offerings, our program enables a very detailed assessment. At the same time, the underlying suppositions are transparent for the user and can be customised as required,” says the DLR researcher, summarising the benefits. The evaluation is available in Germany, as well as the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Austria and Spain. Norway and France will soon be included as well.

Decision-making support for government and public authorities

Policy makers will be at the focus of the second stage. In the coming months, the DLR researchers aim to continue developing the software so it can also be used to compare various funding options for electromobility. Besides financial incentives, other motivations might also include parking spaces reserved for electric cars, the use of bus lanes, or access restriction for emission-intensive vehicles. “In this way, depending on local factors, decision-makers in government and public authorities can work out what measures promise the greatest success for developing electromobility and thus benefit from existing experience,” says Schimeczek, explaining the next stage in the project.

About Project I-CVUE

The aim of the I-CVUE EU project, which will be funded until March 2017, is to replace 1000 traditionally fuelled vehicles and reduce harmful emissions in urban environments. Besides the free online tool, the project partners from the seven participating countries are offering independent, personalised advice for operators of vehicle fleets and decision-makers in government and public authorities.

The project is being coordinated by the Energy Saving Trust (United Kingdom) and co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programmeof the European Union. In addition to DLR, partners include: Bosch (Germany), RACC Automovil Club (Spain), Electric Vehicle Union EVU (Norway), FIER Automotive (Netherlands), IRU Projects (Belgium), Transport for London (United Kingdom), Austrian Energy Agency EA (Austria) and Cardiff University(United Kingdom).

Link to online tool:


Denise Nüssle

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart
Tel: +49 711 6862-8086

Dr. Christoph Schimeczek

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Vehicle Concepts
Linder Höhe, 51147 Köln