Combustion off from 2035: Auto industry worries about charging infrastructure

From 2035, cars with internal combustion engines will no longer be allowed in the EU.

Combustion off from 2035: Auto industry worries about charging infrastructure

From 2035, cars with internal combustion engines will no longer be allowed in the EU. Environmental organizations would have preferred the deadline to be significantly earlier in order to slow down climate change. The industry, on the other hand, criticizes the end as premature, the charging infrastructure is far from ready.

According to the German automotive industry, the EU should not yet set a date of 2035 for a ban on internal combustion engines in new cars. In large parts of Europe there is "insufficient charging infrastructure" for electric cars, said the President of the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Hildegard Müller. "It is therefore simply too early to make such a target. It will increase costs for consumers and jeopardize consumer confidence," she added.

The former CDU politician Müller, Minister of State in the Federal Chancellery from 2005 to 2008, was reacting to the decision of the EU Parliament that the sale of new cars with combustion engines should be banned from 2035. A majority of MEPs voted in Strasbourg on Wednesday for manufacturers to only be allowed to bring cars and vans onto the market that do not emit any greenhouse gases that are harmful to the climate. Before such a regulation can come into force, however, Parliament still has to reach an agreement with the governments of the EU countries.

According to a report by the European Environment Agency, transport was responsible for around a quarter of the EU's total CO2 emissions in 2019. Almost 72 percent of this was accounted for by road traffic. Transport is the only area where greenhouse gas emissions have increased over the past three decades - by 33.5 percent between 1990 and 2019.

Green Party leader Ricarda Lang welcomed the decision. "It's good that the European Parliament is making it clear with this decision: Electromobility is the future," she told the newspapers of the Funke media group. Car companies would thus have planning security throughout Europe. In Germany, the traffic light coalition has already committed to the traffic turnaround, she said. "We want Germany to become the leading market for e-mobility, with 15 million electric cars in 2030."

The climate protection movement Fridays for Future complained about the decision of the EU Parliament as a success of their work. But the targeted year 2035 is "ten years too late" to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times, as agreed at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015, the activists wrote on Twitter. "One thing is clear: we will not achieve a turnaround in traffic by putting e-cars on the road - but by people."

The Central Association of the German Motor Trade (ZDK) criticized the fact that after the vote by the EU Parliament, synthetic fuels should not be counted towards the new CO2 fleet limits. If you want to achieve quick success in reducing CO2, you have to look at the current vehicle population, said ZDK President Jürgen Karpinski. "That's around 46 million cars in Germany and 1.5 billion cars worldwide. With climate-neutral e-fuels or biofuels, all of these vehicles could be powered in a climate-neutral manner, and the existing filling station infrastructure would be in place." However, critics object that the technology is still in its infancy and that the use of e-fuels, i.e. synthetic fuels, in cars is inefficient compared to electric drives.

Transport Minister Volker Wissing also emphasized that synthetic fuels will be needed primarily for air travel. In the foreseeable future there will not be enough e-fuels to operate the cars that are now registered, according to the FDP politician.

Environmental organizations mostly welcomed the vote of the EU Parliament. "Today the European Parliament sent a clear signal in the direction of a change in drive system," says Jens Hilgenberg, Head of Transport Policy at BUND. The internal combustion engine is a phased-out model, that must now be clear to everyone involved. From the Nabu it says: "The EU-Verbrenner-Aus 2035 is a big step and work order at the same time." The federal government must now take urgent measures to ensure that the goal is achieved. According to the German Environmental Aid, the measure does not go far enough, they are calling for an end to combustion engines as early as 2030. Federal Managing Director Jürgen Resch said on Wednesday: "The escalating climate crisis does not give us the time to put millions of new combustion engines on Europe's roads for another 13 years flush, which in turn are dependent on climate-damaging fuel for 15 years or more."

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