Daim­ler boss says he shares vi­sion of zero-emis­sion cars

Zetsche braves boos and frosty re­cep­tion

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

The chair­man of Ger­many’s largest lux­ury car­maker, Daim­ler-Benz, braved boos and a frosty re­cep­tion as guest speaker at a Greens party con­gress yes­ter­day to tell del­e­gates he too wants CO2-free cars on the roads.

Dieter Zetsche, whose com­pany is de­monised by many Greens, said the firm had not missed the boat de­vel­op­ing elec­tric cars and said it backs cli­mate pro­tec­tion goals. But he dis­missed their call to ban the sale of new cars pow­ered by petrol or diesel by 2030.

“Many of you prob­a­bly thought ‘Let­ting the Daim­ler boss talk about trans­porta­tion here is like let­ting (Don­ald) Trump talk about women’s poli­cies’,” Zetsche joked to 800 del­e­gates at the en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist party’s an­nual con­gress in Muen­ster. Yet Zetsche dis­armed the Greens by say­ing he backed one of their cen­tral poli­cies for the 2017 elec­tion, namely that the car in­dus­try’s fu­ture de­pends on de­vel­op­ing emis­sion-free cars.

“It might sur­prise some of you but I agree en­tirely,” said Zetsche, who ap­peared tie-less and in the same sort of run­ning shoes many Greens wear even on for­mal oc­ca­sions.

“The de­car­bon­i­sa­tion of in­dus­trial na­tions is nec­es­sary and car­mak­ers will have to play a role,” he added. Even though de­mand for cars keeps ris­ing glob­ally, “we’ll have to cut the CO2 emis­sions of all the cars we man­u­fac­ture. We’ll live up to our cli­mate pol­icy re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

Zetsche told jour­nal­ists at the Paris Mo­tor Show in Septem­ber that Daim­ler’s MercedesBenz and Smart brands will launch more than 10 elec­tric cars by 2025, and zero-emis­sion ve­hi­cles will make up be­tween 15 per­cent and 25 per­cent of over­all Mercedes sales by then.

The Greens were in power at the fed­eral gov­ern­ment from 1998 to 2005 but have been in op­po­si­tion ever since, even though they share power in coali­tions in 10 of Ger­many’s 16 fed­eral states.

The Greens are emerg­ing as a pre­ferred coali­tion part­ner af­ter the 2017 elec­tion for both the con­ser­va­tive Chris­tian Democrats and the cen­tre-left So­cial Democrats (SPD). Opin­ion polls show them win­ning 11-13 per­cent of the vote, mostly in third place. They agreed at their con­gress in Muen­ster to push for a new tax on the wealth­i­est in­di­vid­u­als if they get into power.

Zetsche, one of the most rec­og­nized faces of in­dus­try in Ger­many, in­sisted the Greens and car­mak­ers have much in com­mon. “Those who see car­mak­ers as the root of all evil might not have no­ticed ev­ery sec­ond elec­tric car in Europe is made in Ger­many.

“The old way of think­ing pit­ting those ob­sessed with high-pow­ered cars ... against joy­less anti-car ecol­o­gists has been over­taken by reality,” he said. “That’s good too be­cause the trans­for­ma­tion the car in­dus­try is fac­ing will have an im­pact on the whole country.” — AP

NEW PORT: USS Ger­ald R Ford is sta­tioned at New­port News Ship­build­ing in New­port News, Va. The $12.9 bil­lion war­ship, the first of the Navy’s next gen­er­a­tion of air­craft car­ri­ers, is in the fi­nal stages of con­struc­tion af­ter cost over­runs and a de­lay of more than one year. — AP

MUEN­STER: Del­e­gates of the Greens protest with posters dur­ing the speech of the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Ger­man car maker Daim­ler AG (not in pic­ture) who was guest speaker at the party’s con­gress in Muen­ster, yes­ter­day. —AFP

MUEN­STER: Co-leader of the Ger­man Green Party Cem Ozdemir (R) in­tro­duces Dieter Zetsche, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Ger­man car maker Daim­ler AG, dur­ing the party’s con­gress in Muen­ster, yes­ter­day. —AFP

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