VDA President Matthias Wissmann commented on the discussion of a ban on registering vehicles with combustion engines after 2030
“The traffic sector is part of the ambitious European climate protection policy and will do its share toward reducing CO2 – that is not in doubt. However, climate protection and Europe’s future viability as an industrial location must be in a sensible balance.
“But first let us set out the facts: neither the German Government nor the European Commission is calling for a ban on combustion engines as of 2030. Instead, the German Government’s draft Climate Action Plan 2050 builds on a continuous rise in the proportion of electric vehicles up to 2030. The European Commission wishes its recently presented Low-Emission Mobility Strategy to also significantly bring down greenhouse gas emissions from traffic by mid-century. It is using a wide variety of measures to do so. It is uncontested that in all probability in 2030 combustion engines will still account for quite a large share of the mix of powertrains on the roads.
“Furthermore, the simple call from the Greens for a ban on combustion engines is poorly conceived and not thought through. Politicians should create smart overall conditions, and not dictate technological progress or customers’ decisions. The basic principles apply of openness to technology and freedom of choice in the market economy.
“A policy forcing the end of the combustion engine can actually be counterproductive for climate protection. A black-and-white approach that brands the combustion engine as universally bad for the climate is too simple. Depending on the energy mix, the combustion engine can in fact produce better results, because only if electricity comes from renewable sources can electric cars really operate with zero emissions. In addition, the combustion engine offers a climate-neutral perspective in the medium and long term, namely by using synthetic fuels. Their future value is emphasized with good reason both by the EU and by the German Government.
“Around 20 years ago, the Greens’ call for a drastic hike in gasoline prices caused a stir. Just like their five mark policy, the latest call will attract attention to the party conference, but is unsuitable for application in practice.
Germany’s Bundesrat (Federal Council) recently discussed a working paper prepared by expert officials, proposing verification for the European Low-Emission Mobility Strategy. So European harmonization of mobility relevant taxes and levies is up for discussion. To deduce from that, that the German federal states or the Bundesrat are calling for a political ban on combustion engines is mistaken.