VDA President at BDI climate congress: “Individual and affordable mobility must be ensured now and in the future.”
“The automotive industry is clearly committed to climate protection and the Paris targets. We are convinced that in the long term there can be no alternative to clean, climate-friendly cars. Manufacturers and suppliers are driving forward the development of this sustainable mobility of the future in innovative ways and with determination. This must be accompanied by an effective, long-term climate policy that strengthens both environmental protection and Germany as an industrial location,” said Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at today’s BDI climate congress in Berlin.
Mattes added that the Climate Working Group within the National Platform Future of Mobility had put forward proposals and suggested instruments for investment, innovation and digitization, with which climate protection in the transport sector can be greatly advanced. To this end, a clear focus should be placed on building up the infrastructure, and in particular the charging infrastructure for electric mobility. “That would represent good milestones that have to be worked on and specified in more detail,” the VDA president explained. “The proposed measures can be used to achieve a large portion of the required CO2 savings. In addition, the automotive industry has presented concepts and ideas to make up the remainder.”
This would include, according to Mattes, more investment in digitization, an initiative for avoiding congestion, improved traffic flow, less driving while searching for a parking space, and the use of apps for car-sharing and ride-sharing. Training courses were also necessary for motorists to learn economical and safe driving. In addition, the increased use of renewable, CO2-neutral fuels with strict sustainability criteria needed to be vigorously promoted. Mattes commented: “The climate protection targets in the transport sector can be reached with a combination of these measures. That is better than imposing restrictions and bans. Modern, individual and affordable mobility is extremely valuable and must be ensured now and in the future.”
Mattes went on to say it was also clear that decarbonization came with a price tag. According to calculations in the study entitled “Klimapfade der Industrie 2050” (“Climate Paths for Industry in 2050”), in order to achieve the 2050 target of a 95 percent reduction in CO2, with optimum implementation additional investments of around 1.5 to 2.3 trillion euros would be needed to cover all sectors. To reach the transport-sector target in 2030, another approx. 250 billion euros would be required.
The VDA president pointed out that in the short term, electric vehicles in particular were making a major contribution to environmental protection and emission reductions. However, it would take more than attractive products to achieve the very ambitious targets of around 7 to 10.5 million electric vehicles (BEVs and PHEVs) in 2030. “We must have the best possible regulatory conditions and the right purchasing environment for customers,” Mattes stressed. “The next three years will be crucial for the breakthrough of electric mobility and its acceptance among customers.”
Mattes sees one significant stumbling block for the success of electric mobility in the still insufficient charging infrastructure. At present, Germany has 16,100 public charging points and around 1,900 fast charging points. Berlin has roughly one charging point for every 4,500 inhabitants, while Oslo has one for every 480 inhabitants, and Amsterdam one for every 400. “Swift action must be taken here, because simple and easy charging will be key to the success of electric mobility. The Federal Transport Minister’s initiative for promoting the charging infrastructure is therefore both necessary and important. One crucial lever is the construction of private charging pillars because electric vehicles are mostly – 75 to 85 percent of the time – charged up on private property,” Mattes said. The electricity grids also had to be prepared for the rise in electric mobility. In some regions it would become necessary to expand or reinforce the distribution network.
Mattes continued: “There are still too many legal and practical hurdles for tenants and landlords who wish to install a private charging point. To find pragmatic solutions, the building, tenancy and property legislation must be amended. The announcements by the Federal Minister of Justice on this topic should be implemented rapidly.” In the case of new construction projects, Mattes added, installing charging pillars at parking places would have to proceed faster than planned to date. This is because the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive – that still has to be translated into national law – sets the bar too low. It stipulates that only from 2025 onward will a charging infrastructure be mandatory in new buildings – and only to a rather modest extent.