23 Dec 2020, 13:51
Julian Wettengel

Bosch supervisory board head calls EU preference for e-cars harmful for climate

Stuttgarter Nachrichten

German car supplier Bosch’s supervisory board head Franz Fehrenbach has criticised the EU for what he calls its preferential treatment of electric cars, saying this is to the detriment of the climate, reports the Stuttgarter Nachrichten. E-cars are considered zero-emission vehicles, while the electricity mix in Germany and Europe is not climate neutral, and battery cells are often produced in Asia, where there is still a high share of coal power, he said. “This is a case of double standards to the detriment of the internal combustion engine – and to the detriment of the climate,” Fehrenbach told the newspaper.

However, studies show that electric cars have a better climate footprint over their lifetime than combustion engine cars, even when their production is taken into account. Bosch recently came under scrutiny after supporting a paper that cast doubt on the green credentials of electric vehicles. The paper was quickly debunked by experts. Several such studies were published in recent years, but were often found to overestimate battery manufacturing, underestimate battery lifetime, assume an unchanged electricity mix over the lifetime of the electric vehicle, use unrealistic tests for energy use, or exclude emissions from fuel production.

After a slow start, the sale of electric vehicles has risen rapidly in Germany in the second half of 2020. However, despite the country's largest car company, Volkswagen, having decided to make its passenger cars fully electric over the next years, Germany's automotive sector still remains heavily tilted towards combustion engines and many supplier companies see their future as hinging on finding a way to make combustion engines climate-neutral by using synthetic fuels.

Fehrenbach’s remarks follow on the heels of comments made by the heads of Bosch and its rival Schaeffler last week warning that a higher EU climate target would cost jobs in the automotive sector. The automotive industry directly employs more than 800,000 people in Germany. A study commissioned by Volkswagen found that the shift to electric mobility will cost fewer jobs at carmakers than many experts and unions assume, but it also indicated that the supplier industry could face significant job losses.

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