Vw group boss: driving a car on coal-fired power is “madness”

VW group boss: driving a car on coal-fired power is 'madness'

In the dispute over stricter climate protection rules for carmakers, VW group boss herbert diess has denounced the german energy mix.

The electric car will not be able to keep up with the diesel in terms of CO2 emissions over long distances in the foreseeable future, he warned in the "suddeutsche zeitung". "Because the truth is: they’re not switching to electric, they’re switching to coal-fired."The production of one battery with coal-fired electricity would produce five metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). "And if they then run on coal-fired electricity, e-mobility really becomes a madness."

EU countries had agreed that new cars should emit an average of 35 percent less CO2 in 2030 than in 2020. The federal government originally wanted only a 30 percent reduction – which german carmakers considered feasible. Other countries wanted a reduction of 40 percent and more. The climate footprint of otherwise clean e-cars is significantly affected by the sources of electricity for batteries in operation and production.

In order to reduce the car fleet’s CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030, one third of these vehicles will have to be fully electric, explained diess. If a reduction of 40 percent had been targeted, more than half of the cars would have to be purely electric. He warned that change at this pace would be almost impossible to manage – within ten years, a quarter of the jobs at VW would have to be eliminated. In his view, the diesel will still be needed in ten years’ time.

Car industry expert ferdinand dudenhoffer, on the other hand, told NDR that the new climate requirements are accelerating the change. Diess’ warning with regard to jobs was rejected: "I think the opposite will be the case. If the specifications were too lax, then we would run the risk of having 200.000 jobs lost." the e-mobility and digitalization trends are placing heavy demands on manufacturers. But e-cars are still a long way from gaining acceptance on the market.

The EU compromise also met with approval in the energy industry. Transport is the second-largest producer of greenhouse gases after the energy industry and is "massively behind" in reducing emissions, according to the german association of energy and water industries (BDEW). Bosch CEO volkmar denner wrote in a guest article for the german business newspaper "handelsblatt" that the automotive industry could do more to protect the climate than it has to: "if you are in favor of climate protection, you can’t avoid an overall carbon dioxide balance for road traffic."For the climate, not only the emissions of the car count, but also those from fuel and electricity production.

VW works council head bernd osterloh had spoken out against new limits. Quite a few politicians demanded minus 50 or 75 percent by 2030: "if that is what is decided in the european parliament, then we can forget about building cars in germany."

Regarding the dispute over the – now halted – clearing of the hambach forest, diess said it was "completely incomprehensible" to even think of expanding a lignite mining area. "What the energy industry wants to do here makes a mockery of our entire electrification strategy," he said. It doesn’t make sense to put electric cars on the road if the electricity for them comes from coal: "then we drive with coal instead of petroleum and produce more CO2 than we do today."

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