Optum – Environmental Relief through Electromobility

In OPTUM the project team is investigating the potential of electromobility in terms of social acceptance and ecological contribution.

Research approach

Together with Öko-Institut, ISOE is looking at which electromobility concepts, from an expert point of view, stand a realistic chance of catching on. Social scientific surveys will then be used to find out which of the most promising ideas for the future are attractive to potential users. With these results, politics and industry should ultimately be able to decide which versions to take further.


Scientists are studying the acceptance of selected electromobility concepts in empirical qualitative and quantitative surveys. Here they ask potential users about the attractiveness, potentials and barriers of electric cars. On this basis, the team then develops scenarios of the fields in which electromobility could become popular and to what extent.

Potential to reduce environmental pollution

Electromobility will change the energy system, for instance when electric cars are used as temporary buffer stores for energy. Thus far, only certain aspects of the interactions between electromobility and the energy system have been studied – and then only in the short term. It is the express goal of OPTUM to take an integrated, long-term approach to examining such interactions. The anticipated savings in greenhouse gas emissions can then be compared with those of conventional vehicles.

Parallel dialogue with stakeholders

In order to develop suitable measures, it is important to exploit existing potentials and counteract undesirable developments. To this end, a stakeholder dialogue is running parallel to the project.


The extent to which switching to electromobility really does reduce environmental pollution is by no means clear as yet. It depends on the technical solutions developed and on what ultimately prevails in the market. At the moment there are various concepts on the table. Besides private acquisition, for example, cars could be made available on a loan basis from a pool of vehicles. The electric cars could also take the form of mini power stations on wheels for the anti-cyclical storing of wind energy when not required and its release as and when required, a so-called vehicle-to-grid concept.

Project partners

Öko-Institut e.V. (lead)


Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)


2009/09 – 2011/09