The strong economic growth in recent years has led to an intensive use of natural resources, which causes environmental stress as well as restrictions on the availability of resources. Therefore, a more efficient use of resources is necessary as an important contribution to sustainable development. The ESSENZ method presented in this article comprehensively assesses a product’s resource efficiency by going beyond existing approaches and considering the pollution of the environment as well as the physical and socio-economic availability of resources. This paper contains a short description of the ESSENZ methodology as well as a case study of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W 205)—comparing the conventional C 250 (petrol engine) with the C 350 e Plug-In Hybrid (electric motor and petrol engine). By applying the ESSENZ method it can be shown that the use of more and different materials for the Plug-In-Hybrid influences the dimensions physical and socio-economic availability significantly. However, for environmental impacts, especially climate change and summer smog, clear advantages of the C 350 e occur due to lower demand of fossil energy carriers. As shown within the case study, the when applying the ESSENZ method a comprehensive evaluation of the used materials and fossil energy carriers can be achieved.
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