“Auto summit” with Merkel dispute over the future of the combustion engine

“Auto summit” with Merkel dispute over the future of the combustion engine

It’s about a lot – about more climate protection and the future of a key German industry. The combustion engine is at the center of the debate. Should there be a fixed exit date? That is what greens and environmental groups want. It is true that new registrations of e-cars are increasing. Especially with small and medium-sized suppliers, however, many jobs still depend on the combustion engine. The industry is therefore also relying on alternative fuels – and looks with some concern at the EU’s higher climate targets.

That became clear at a “car summit” with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on Tuesday. There were no significant concrete results from the deliberations. In addition to Merkel, federal ministers, heads of government of the “car countries” such as Lower Saxony and representatives of the auto industry took part.

The debate about more climate protection in transport has recently picked up speed again, also in view of the federal elections in autumn. “We Greens only want to allow new emission-free cars from 2030 so that everyone involved finally has planning security,” said the Green politician Cem Özdemir. It must now be a matter of making electromobility a success for the economy, employees and the climate. -Expert Tobias Austrup said the incinerator is on the “death bed”. -Technology President Karsten Schulze emphasized on the other hand: “From the point of view of innovation, a fixed ban on the internal combustion engine is stalling in gasoline and diesel engines, although there is still potential here.”

The President of the Association of the Automotive Industry, Hildegard Müller, declared after the “car summit” with a view to planned higher EU climate targets that climate protection goals and industrial policy should be considered together: “Companies need reliable and feasible framework conditions. Companies are facing the greatest transformation in the history of the automotive industry, and we want it to succeed. “

The many different climate protection measures must be coordinated so that the economy can carry out the transformation, said Müller. “If the EU Commission wants to propose tightening the CO2 values ​​for cars and light commercial vehicles, it must also present a detailed expansion plan for a charging infrastructure throughout Europe.”

The expansion of the charging network is also a big topic in Germany. The question is whether the infrastructure can keep pace with the rise in new registrations of e-cars, also due to higher government premiums. With higher climate targets, the pressure on manufacturers would increase enormously to sell more e-vehicles so that fleet limits can be complied with.

The manufacture of electric vehicles, however, is less labor-intensive. A total of around 850,000 direct employees currently work in the automotive industry in Germany. She sees considerable risks for employment as a result of the structural change in the auto industry and therefore calls for the structural change to be supported with targeted funding programs. A planned “Future Fund for the Automobile Industry” has a volume of 1 billion euros, and a council of experts is now to develop recommendations for the use of the funds by the summer.

Another hot topic is a possible new Euro 7 emissions standard. In June, plans are to be submitted to the EU Commission for stricter limit values ​​that will come into force in 2025.

In the paper of a working group of the “Concerted Action Mobility”, also known as the “Auto Summit”, it is stated that if ambitious measures to reduce CO2 are implemented at the same time, the updating of the emission limit values ​​could, depending on the option, be associated with “considerable burdens” for vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.

Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) had already announced that the limit values ​​would have to remain technically feasible. “If the rumors are confirmed, this would herald a premature and premature end of the internal combustion engine without any alternatives being available,” said the first chairman of the union, Jörg Hofmann. The “corridor of the feasible” must be adhered to.

Last November, VDA President Müller warned of a de facto end for cars with internal combustion engines from 2025. “The commission wants to stipulate that in future a vehicle must remain virtually emission-free in every driving situation – be it with a trailer on a hill or in slow city traffic. That is technically impossible, and everyone knows that, ”she criticized. The planned tightening would therefore amount to a ban on cars with internal combustion engines. “Instead of a ban, we need innovations and investments in e-fuels and fuel cells. The problem is not the combustion engine, but the fuel. “

This is of particular interest to WiWo readers today

Increased use of so-called synthetic fuels, for which Scheuer also advocates, is highly controversial. Greens parliamentary deputy Oliver Krischer said: “Instead of talking about synthetic fuels, which will be too expensive and only available in very limited quantities, the auto summit should send a clear signal for electromobility.”

Politicians have big plans for green hydrogen: It should make cars, trucks, trains and planes CO2-free.