16 Feb 2021, 14:00
Benjamin Wehrmann

Bill Gates warns German carmakers of 'tragedy' if switch to e-cars does not succeed


The German car industry is headed for a "tragedy" if it does not succeed in becoming a lead market for electric mobility, entrepreneur Bill Gates has told business weekly Handelsblatt. The founder of IT company Microsoft said German carmakers had "probably done more for the car industry than any other country”, but warned that the country could lose out substantially in the emerging shift to e-cars. Gates said the current transformation would be "strategically extremely important" for the country and that many jobs could be lost if attempts to adapt to the new dominating propulsion technology do not succeed. Gates added that the resolute action shown by Germany to gain a stronger foothold "at high speed" in battery production gave reason for optimism that a turnaround for the country's car industry is possible. Gates made the comments in the context of a promotion of his new book "How to avoid a climate disaster”. He argued investments in research for green technologies should be increased at least fivefold to more than 100 billion dollars every year, Gates said. "We have to change the physical economy at a speed that has never before been seen in history" and reach net-zero emissions by 2050, he argued.

The billionaire philanthropist has said he will invest two billion dollars in climate action projects in the next five years. The money will be put into start-ups that work on climate-friendly projects but also into low-carbon power production with nuclear power technology. "Germany has done the world a big favour by subsidising solar power," he said, but argued that renewables alone will not suffice to carry energy systems of the future.

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