Min­is­ter: Ger­many should con­sider elec­tric cars quo­tas

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Ger­many should con­sider in­tro­duc­ing bind­ing quo­tas for elec­tric cars for an au­to­mo­bile sec­tor seek­ing to re­cover from a diesel emis­sions scan­dal and keep its place as a lead­ing pro­ducer, deputy econ­omy min­is­ter Matthias Mach­nig said yes­ter­day.

The com­ments set up a pos­si­ble pol­icy clash with Ger­man car­mak­ers, whose lobby group says it op­poses such quo­tas. Bri­tain said last month it would ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040 in an at­tempt to re­duce air pol­lu­tion. The global auto in­dus­try de­bate could one day her­ald the end of more than a cen­tury of re­liance on the com­bus­tion en­gine.

“We want Ger­many to re­main the top car coun­try in the fu­ture,” Mach­nig told Reuters, ad­ding that is­sues like dig­i­tal­iza­tion and new tech­nolo­gies in motors would de­cide who stays at the top of the game. “That’s why we should talk about a bind­ing tar­get to re­ally get elec­tro­mo­bil­ity go­ing in Europe and also in Ger­many,” said Mach­nig, a mem­ber of the So­cial Democrats, ju­nior coali­tion part­ners of Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s con­ser­va­tives.

He added that the whole au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try faced a ma­jor up­heaval that it would cope with us­ing in­no­va­tion. Mach­nig was re­act­ing to a re­port in Ger­man news­pa­per Han­dels­blatt that cited Euro­pean Union sources as say­ing the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion wanted to ac­cel­er­ate the re­treat from com­bus­tion en­gines by set­ting a quota for low emis­sion cars such as elec­tric cars from 2025.

But the Euro­pean Union said yes­ter­day it had no plans to in­tro­duce quo­tas for elec­tric cars for an au­to­mo­bile sec­tor seek­ing to re­cover from the Volk­swa­gen diesel scan­dal.

“Gen­er­ally speak­ing, the Com­mi­sion is look­ing into ways to pro­mote use of low car­bon en­ergy and trans­port but none of them in­cludes quo­tas for elec­tric cars,” a spokes­woman for the EU ex­ec­u­tive said. “We do not dis­crim­i­nate be­tween dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies,” she added.

The Han­dels­blatt re­port said the sources be­lieved a min­i­mum sales level along­side stricter lim­its for C02 emis­sions were al­ready part of mea­sures to pro­mote cli­mate­friendly mo­bil­ity that the Com­mis­sion wants to present by the end of the year.

VDA auto in­dus­try lobby was quoted as say­ing: “We think such sales quo­tas are, in prin­ci­ple, the wrong choice.” A spokesman for the Ger­man trans­port min­istry said on Mon­day he was not aware of any sug­ges­tions about in­tro­duc­ing a quota for elec­tric cars or other low emis­sion cars in the medium term.

Speak­ing at a gov­ern­ment news con­fer­ence, he said the trans­port min­istry wanted Ger­many to re­main a top car pro­ducer but wanted to be open re­gard­ing the tech­nol­ogy to en­able that. — Reuters

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