Project E-Luise:

A climate-friendly electric camper for rent

Join us in converting the old & battered VW T3 Luise to the new & climate-friendly electric camper E-Luise .

E-Luise Electric Camper Team

Support our project on Startnext & get some cool goodies, a membership to Schau aufs Land or rent the charming E-Luise right away for your next holiday.

Join us in converting the old & battered VW T3 Luise to the new & climate-friendly electric camper E-Luise .

Support our project on Startnext & get some cool goodies, a membership to Schau aufs Land or rent the charming E-Luise right away for your next holiday.

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    VW Bulli with electric drive

    Conversion to electric drive with a 60 kWh battery for up to 300 km range (rechargeable at any socket and public AC charging points).

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    Sustainable through Re- & Upcycling

    Upcycling an old VW T3 & CO2-saving by using existing resources.

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    Own small solar power plant

    100 % Green power: Up to 50 km range/day using only solar energy from own generation.

Turn old into new & climate-friendly:

Travelling with a camper is pure freedom for us. We love being out in nature. But our motto is also: "Freedom with responsibility". Therefore, we want to work with the Project E-Luise show one way in which, in the future, we can more climate-friendly can be on the road.

Because the fact is, every form of mobility inevitably causes Climate stresses. However, the extent of this burden is changeable.

By using existing resources & upcycling we want to enable climate-friendly travel and show a sustainable approach for future camping travel.

"And with your help we can create a change!"

E-Luise Electric Camper Team
  • bullet-3

    VW Bulli with electric drive

    Conversion to electric drive with a 60 kWh battery for up to 300 km range (rechargeable at any socket and public AC charging points).

  • bullet-2

    Sustainable through Re- & Upcycling

    Upcycling an old VW T3 & CO2-saving by using existing resources.

  • bullet-3

    Own small solar power plant

    100 % own green electricity: Up to 50 km range/day using only solar energy from own generation.

Sustainable electric camper

Critical questions & answers

Leonard is the scientist in our team and goes into detail here about common questions around the topic of electromobility and sustainability.

Leonard Röser from Schau aufs LandI would like to take this opportunity to present my views on the subject of electric mobility. First of all, I studied environmental systems science and dealt intensively with the topic of man-made climate change and its effects during my studies. Since then, one thing has been very clear to me: we should do everything we can to stop global warming as quickly as possible.

Because if there's one thing I've learned in my studies, it's that the scientific community is unanimous: warming of our planet above 1.5 or 2 degrees the Life on earth drastically and, above all, negatively. However, I do not want to go into this in detail now, details can be found in the current report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Source). 

With these insights from my studies, I can't help but look for ways to live in a more climate-friendly way. 100 % green electricity, a predominantly vegetarian/vegan and regional/organic diet, second-hand purchases, urban mobility by bike and much more are already part of my everyday life, and I haven't been on an aeroplane for a very long time, but travelling with my camper is still a passion I don't want to give up. So I looked around for alternatives and at the moment there is really only one: electric mobility.

First of all, electromobility is not the be-all and end-all, and a lot still has to change before we can talk about a truly sustainable alternative. But it definitely offers an approach and, above all, a solution as to how we can reduce traffic, which is responsible for almost 50 % of CO₂ emissions in Austria (Source), can make it more climate-friendly 

Very important at this point, we are talking about climate-friendly here, not environmentally friendly, I will devote more time to this question below.

On the question: I say a resounding yes, if it is implemented properly. First of all, the expansion of renewable energies is one of the most important milestones to make electric mobility climate-friendly in the long term. But one way or another, this is a major goal of all countries and is therefore already being implemented. But even now, an electric car in Austria is usually more climate-friendly than a car with a combustion engine. 

Here is a simple calculation example: VW Golf diesel/petrol vs. VW e-Golf (with the given figures, you can calculate the carbon footprint for each vehicle):

CO₂-emissions from 1 litre of diesel: 3.14 kg (Source)
CO₂ emissions from 1 litre of petrol: 2.89 kg (Source)
CO₂ emissions 1 kWh energy (energy mix Austria): 0.219 kg (Source)
CO₂ emissions 1 kWh energy (100 % green electricity Austria): 0.014 kg (Source)

CO₂ emissions for production 1 kWh battery power: 75 kg (Source)

VW Golf Diesel: Consumption 5.7l/100 km (Source)
VW Golf petrol: consumption 7.6l/100 km (Source)

VW e-Golf: Consumption 16 kWh/100 km (Source)
VW e-Golf CO₂ emissions from battery production (35.8 kWh): 2,685 kg CO₂

VW Golf Diesel after 150,000 km: 26,847 kg CO₂
VW Golf petrol after 150,000 km: 32,946 kg CO₂

VW e-Golf after 150,000 km (energy mix Austria): 5.256 CO₂ + battery = 7941 kg CO₂
VW e-Golf after 150,000 km (100 % green electricity Austria): 336 kg CO₂ + battery = 3021 kg CO₂

As this calculation example shows, we can already save a very large amount of CO₂ emissions with a mileage of 150,000 km. So for me, this is clearly a contribution to being more climate-friendly on the road in the future. 

How many kilometres do you have to drive with an electric car to be more climate-friendly than with a vehicle powered by petrol or diesel?

First of all, I would like to mention two important points.

  1. The figures from the unfortunately still much-cited Sweden study (IVL study) from 2017 are already outdated and have been corrected downwards by the same researchers (Source). Here is a current study whose figures I also refer to (Source).
  2. In almost all German-language studies on the CO2 emissions of electric cars, the CO2 emissions are taken from the production of 1 kWh of electricity from the German electricity mix (approx. 400 grams per kilowatt hour).Source). In Austria, however, it is approx. 219 grams per kilowatt hour. (Source). So it makes the most sense to work it out for yourself.

The following data can be used to calculate this for each vehicle:

CO₂ emissions from 1 litre of diesel: 3.14 kg (Source)
CO₂ emissions from 1 litre of petrol: 2.89 kg (Source)
C0₂ emissions 1 kWh energy (energy mix Austria): 0.219 kg (Source)
C0₂ emissions 1 kWh energy (100 % green electricity Austria): 0.014 kg (Source)
CO₂ emissions for production 1 kWh battery power: 75 kg (Source)

Again, I'll just use the VW Golf as an example, but it can also be calculated with any other vehicle:

VW Golf Diesel: Consumption 5.7l/100 km (Source)
CO₂ emissions per kilometre: 0.17898 kg

VW Golf petrol: consumption 7.6l/100 km (Source)
CO₂ emissions per kilometre: 0.21964 kg

VW e-Golf: Consumption 16 kWh/100 km (Source)
CO₂ emissions per kilometre (energy mix Austria): 0.06132 kg

VW e-Golf CO₂ emissions from battery production (35.8 kWh): 2,685 kg CO₂

Compared to the VW Golf Diesel, we would be on the road with the VW e-Golf using the Austrian electricity mix after 25,000 kilometres in a more climate-friendly way. Compared to the VW Golf petrol after just 19,000 kilometres.

When I am asked this question, I always prefer to first ask the counter-question of what a sensible and, above all, climate-friendly alternative is. Not because I want to distract from the question, but because this question is of burning interest to me. As soon as there are alternatives that are more environmentally friendly, more socially just and also climate-friendly, I'm in. Then I'll gladly discard all previous plans 🙂 But unfortunately, I haven't found any yet.

But back to the question, the answer is unfortunately yes. But what about the alternatives? Because the production of petrol and diesel also has an extreme environmental impact. So again, we have to look at the whole picture and not just focus on one thing. 

We have issues such as water, resource, energy and land consumption in both the production of batteries and the extraction of oil. In the case of oil, we unfortunately only have smaller and larger natural disasters again and again due to the loss of oil in nature and in the water (Source). These cannot simply be ignored. However, the mining of lithium also causes the groundwater table to sink, especially in regions where water is scarce (e.g. the Atacama Desert in Chile), and often drinking water is also contaminated (Source). So both are definitely not the best thing in the world. An important aspect that is unfortunately often not discussed is that we only take metals such as lithium out of the earth once and thus feed them into a cycle. These metals can be useful for a very long time if they are used correctly and, above all, if they can be recycled. In contrast, the oil that we extract from the earth is burnt and is thus gone, it cannot be reused. For me, this is an important difference between oil and batteries. However, one thing is clear: a lot needs to be done to make the production of batteries really environmentally friendly and to make recycling ecologically and economically feasible. The good news is that these goals are already being worked on intensively.

And as I mentioned at the beginning, my main goal at the moment is to be more climate-friendly on the road with a camper in the future, and I am already achieving this goal with the E-Luise (see above). But that doesn't mean I don't care about the environmental impact. Through our upcycling process, we are already consciously trying to minimise the negative environmental impact. Unfortunately, we are still dependent on the batteries. But it is already planned that the batteries of the E-Luise will have a second life as home storage. So their use for the next 10-20 years is already guaranteed. And I am working on the assumption that by then it will be possible to recycle the batteries in a sensible way, so the materials will remain in the cycle of use for a much longer period of time. 

I can only answer this question in the affirmative. But for me it is important to always look at the big picture and not to focus on one thing with blinkers. For me, it is wrong to demonise one thing but at the same time accept other things or alternatives, some of which have far worse consequences. But back to the question.

For the extraction of lithium, among other things, water is made to evaporate. This means that large quantities of water are needed to extract the precious raw material. Scientific studies vary widely, from 400,000 l per tonne of lithium (Source) up to 2,000,000 litres per 1 tonne of lithium (Source). An electric car battery contains between 7 and 12 kg of lithium (Source) So, depending on the study, we are talking about about 4000 to 20,000 litres of water consumed for the production of an e-car battery. That is definitely a very large amount. However, it is also important to note that this is often not drinking water, but brine, i.e. very salty water. Nevertheless, the groundwater level is affected by this and this affects a whole region and thus many people. But before we demonise electromobility because of this, we should also be aware that the lithium that is mined for the batteries does not only end up in car batteries. Almost every battery in all electronic devices contains lithium, and there is a huge amount of it on our planet. Is that why these devices are also demonised? On the other hand, we pollute a huge amount of water every year through the loss of petroleum in nature or in water. Just 1 litre of petroleum is enough to pollute 1 million litres of water (Source). Every year, however, vast quantities of oil end up in the water, depending on the source, between 150,000 tonnes (Source) to more than 1 million tonnes (Source). In the North Sea alone, there are between 4000 and 6000 tonnes per year (Source). 

I don't want to gloss over the water consumption of lithium production. I am also in favour of mining lithium in a more environmentally friendly and water-saving way in the future, and I am actively campaigning for this. 

Other extremely water-intensive productions:

1 kg of beef requires approx. 15,000 litres of water (Source)
1 kg of cotton requires approx. 10,000 litres of water (Source)
1 kg of butter requires approx. 5000 litres of water (Source

Finally, a simple and clear answer: the batteries we use for the E-Luise are lithium iron phosphate batteries, which already do without cobalt.

In the future, there will almost certainly be batteries without lithium, but unfortunately that is not yet the case. But that can change very soon. Already for 2023, the battery manufacturer CATL has announced a battery that does without lithium, cobalt and nickel (Source). 

Oh yes, we would have. But let's be realistic, not all the cars in the world will be replaced with electric vehicles overnight. This process will take many years. And this time must of course be used to adapt the power grid and to incorporate new ideas and approaches.

A sensible future orientation of electric mobility is, for example, the so-called V2G (vehicle to grid). Here, the large battery storage of the electric cars serves as a buffer for the electricity grid, which in turn will greatly benefit the energy transition, as more renewable energies can be stored (Source).

First of all: "Used industrial and automotive batteries must be recycled without exception: Energy recovery or even disposal (e.g. landfilling) is not permitted throughout the EU" (Source). So they don't end up in the rubbish.

On the contrary, these batteries are still worth a lot, even when they no longer have enough capacity for an electric car.

Not enough capacity for an electric car means that the battery still has a capacity of 70 to 80 %. Whether this happens after 5, 10 or 20 years depends on various factors such as the kilometres driven or the type of charging. However, this capacity is more than sufficient to use the battery as a home storage system or as a general buffer storage. The so-called second life of batteries is therefore an ecologically as well as economically sensible thing and is also becoming more and more popular (Source). 

But these batteries will also give up the ghost at some point and then it is important that they are recycled. Only then can we speak of a truly sustainable use of batteries. But things are already happening in this area, too. In general, the recycling of batteries is already considered technically possible. However, there is still a need for further optimisation (Source). However, the Umicores recycling plant already manages to treat up to 7,000 tonnes per year (Source). 

Crowdfunding support from the city of Graz

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