Statement by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)
Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in road traffic have dropped by 70 per cent since the 1990s – despite the fact that the volume of transport has increased by nearly half since 1990. In other words, Germany's air has become cleaner and cleaner. Thus, we do not have a general problem, just certain hotspots where the annual limits are exceeded. Hourly limit values are complied with everywhere however.
We assume that annual average NOx concentrations in Germany will drop significantly in the near future, as the measures agreed on with the German government at the diesel summit are taking hold.
There are better ways of ensuring air quality in cities than imposing driving bans. Innovation is a much better way forward. And as fleets undergo a natural process of renewal with state-of-the-art clean diesel vehicles, we will see a considerable improvement in air quality in the years ahead. In 2017 alone, some 1.1 million new Euro 6 diesels were registered.
We keep our promises. We stand by our commitment. And that includes software updates, trade-in bonuses and participation in mobility funds. On top of this, we engage in initiatives with cities – like Hamburg – where nitrogen oxide concentrations are still clearly above the annual mean.
With plenty of effective instruments to choose from, the German automotive industry is cooperating closely with the City of Hamburg to shape the face of future urban mobility. Several companies have concluded corresponding mobility partnerships with the city. Since one of its goals is to accelerate the market rollout of electric vehicles, the city is prioritising the installation of EV charging infrastructure. Hamburg's automotive businesses meanwhile are gradually switching their car-sharing fleets to electric powertrains. Furthermore, Hamburg's federal government-backed e-Drive initiative means that even more electric vehicles are now available to Hamburg's authorities, businesses and citizens. And, as of autumn 2018, a German bus manufacturer will electrify Hamburg’s public transport system with zero emission buses.
A second cornerstone of cooperation concerns the development of new mobility services designed to complement public transport services. Hamburg, for example, is rolling out a ride-sharing service consisting entirely of electric shuttles. Together, these projects will help bring about enduring improvements in Hamburg's air quality. Hamburg is also partnering the VDA-initiated Urban Mobility Platform where cities and industry join together to develop and implement urban mobility concepts. Currently, this platform is working to create the enabling conditions required for the rollout of traffic light phase assistants – the aim being to further optimise traffic flows and thus further reduce environmental pollution.
Other cities are also testing and employing similar instruments. Moreover, Germany's automotive industry is embracing new approaches: for example, it is broadening the range of job tickets, introducing more home offices and supporting car-share schemes.
We are therefore convinced that we will soon see a substantial improvement in the levels measured.