Environment and Climate

IAA Dialog

Fragen und Antworten zur Mobilitätsdebatte

What is the automotive industry’s stand on climate protection?

As part of the Paris Agreement many nations have set themselves the goal of limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. If possible, global warming should be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The German automotive industry clearly agrees with these targets. That means we need to get alternative drives on the road as quickly as possible. Together we should commit to making electromobility widely available as soon as possible. Over the next three years, German companies are investing over 40 billion euros in alternative drives. At present, there are 30 electric car models on the market. By 2023 there will be 150, i.e. five times as many. On a global scale, one in three patents in the field of electromobility is from Germany.

But electromobility is not the only technology that can make traffic more environmentally friendly. It should be considered that hydrogen and so-called “e-fuels” can play an important part, that is to say synthetic fuels produced using electricity from renewable sources. Using these fuels, combustion engines release only as much CO2 as is generated in the production of the “e-fuels”.

A switch to sustainable, environmentally friendly mobility means a huge structural change. And this requires the correct conditions, for example:

  • We need heavy investments in the traffic infrastructure, especially in terms of charging stations for electric cars. Today there are 17,400 public stations in Germany. By 2030 around one million public and several million additional private charging points will be necessary. Only then can we achieve the high percentage of electric cars needed to meet the targets set by the European Union.
  • Climate protection does not only affect cars, but also the entire logistics chain. Decarbonization of truck traffic is a huge challenge, also requiring massive investments – in the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, in the hydrogen infrastructure and in overhead power lines for hybrid trucks.
  • A climate protection law also needs to promote these innovative mobility solutions, while remaining “technologically open”. We have to practice climate protection where it is at its most efficient. Limiting individual mobility is not the solution. This is confirmed by a study carried out by the Boston Consulting Group in 2018.[1]

If it is to succeed, a sustainable climate protection policy must, in general, not only make sense in ecological terms, but also in social and economic terms. If we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 by 80 percent compared to 1990, then we need to invest 503 billion euros in the traffic sector alone over the next 30 years. An additional  263 billion euros are necessary to reach the 95-percent target.[2] This includes investments in electric cars and trucks as well as in overhead cables for hybrid trucks and in renewable gas or liquid fuels for cars. A structural change toward climate-friendly mobility is possible. But it requires a great deal of effort.


[1] Vgl. BCG/Prognos, „Klimapfade für Deutschland“, 2018, S. 120.

[2] Vgl. BCG/Prognos, „Klimapfade für Deutschland“, 2018, S. 86 und S. 201 f.

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