“Fleet renewal with innovative and efficient models is the best way to protect the climate and bring about further improvements in air quality. This is because modern Euro 6 vehicles have much lower pollutant emissions and lower fuel consumption than older models,” explained Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). The VDA has conducted an analysis based on the latest figures from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).
The results reveal that whereas the total passenger car fleet (as on Jan. 1, 2018) in Germany had expanded only slightly compared with the previous year – by 1.5 percent to nearly 46.5 million units – the number of passenger cars satisfying the modern Euro 6 standard soared by 52 percent to 9.3 million vehicles (6.1 million in the previous year) within only twelve months. Mattes commented, “That means one fifth of all cars on our roads already satisfy Euro 6. At the same time, the fleet of Euro 5 cars and older models is shrinking steadily.”
Out of the 9.3 million Euro 6 passenger cars, 58 percent are gasoline vehicles and 41 percent are diesels. The number of modern Euro 6 diesel cars has risen within one year by 42 percent, or 1.1 million units, from 2.7 million to 3.8 million vehicles. So one quarter of the 15.2 million diesels on the roads already meet the most modern exhaust standard.
“Every new diesel that comes into service and replaces an older vehicle improves the urban air quality,” Mattes emphasized. The EU stipulates that the NOx emissions from a Euro 6 diesel have to be at least 56 percent lower in the testing cycle than those from a Euro 5 vehicle. And their real world emissions are in fact much lower.
“The proportion of modern Euro 6 diesels will continue to grow in the future. Every year, around one million new diesel passenger cars are registered in Germany, while the number of older vehicles is falling all the time,” Mattes explained. In all probability, half of all diesels in the fleet would be Euro 6 vehicles by 2021.
The VDA president pointed out that the trade-in bonuses currently offered by the carmakers further accelerated fleet replacement. He added that the most modern exhaust technology and the future EU-wide mandatory road tests (RDE) would enable the final step in reducing pollutants from diesel cars. “Today the air in Germany is better than ever before. According to the German Environment Agency, the NOx emissions from road traffic fell by around 70 percent in the period from 1990 to 2015,” Mattes said. The trade-in bonuses, he continued, were being supplemented with free software updates in over 5 million passenger cars and a 250 million euro contribution from the German manufacturers to the German Government’s mobility fund.
Welcome progress is also being made in the field of electric mobility.
The VDA president stressed that the ramp-up of electric mobility could also be seen from the figures. “Last year alone, new registrations of electric vehicles in Germany more than doubled (+117 percent).” Their market share accordingly rose from 0.8 to 1.6 percent. “Every year the German automotive industry invests over 40 billion euros in research and development, with a large portion of this going on electric mobility and alternative powertrains,” Mattes stated.
“The German auto makers are continually strengthening their position in electric mobility – showing that our member companies are offering the right models, which go down well with the customers,” Mattes underscored and drew attention to the latest statistics. For example, the German OEMs’ market share of newly registered electric cars in Germany rose to 70 percent in the first two months of this year (57 percent in Jan. to Feb. 2017), whereas in 2017 as a whole their market share increased from 59 to 66 percent. In Germany the proportion of e-cars with private owners (Jan. to Feb. 2018) climbed to 39 percent – higher than that on the total car market (36 percent).
In 2017 the German manufacturers pushed up their market share of new registrations of e-cars in Western Europe to 53 percent (50 percent in the year before). In Norway, the leading market – where four out of ten newly registered cars use electric propulsion – the German manufacturers achieved a market share of 54 percent in 2017.
“Another indicator of the German automotive industry’s success is the fact that a good 80 percent of the electric cars built in Germany are exported,” Mattes said. “It is now important to rapidly expand the charging infrastructure. Only a joint effort by industry and policymakers will result in a relevant proportion of electric vehicles of 15 to 25 percent in Europe by 2025,” the VDA president emphasized.