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18 Aug 2021, 13:35
Sören Amelang

German auto suppliers shift to e-cars but don't expect fast transition - survey

Clean Energy Wire / Handelsblatt

A large majority of German car industry suppliers have initiated the transition to electric mobility, but don't expect a very rapid technology shift, according to a joint survey by the country's car industry association VDA and management consultancy Deloitte. Eighty-eight percent of respondents do not expect the combustion engine to be completely replaced by electromobility until 2030 or later. Of 83 companies surveyed, 16 expect a completion of the shift between 2040 and 2044, and seven even assume that this will not be the case until 2050, according to a Handelsblatt article on the survey. More than 80 percent assume that e-mobility will become the future technology standard, but 30 percent say fuel cells could become an additional standard, and 40 percent assume this could be the case for synthetic fuels.

Over 80 percent of suppliers surveyed said they have started the transition to e-mobility, but the companies still generate 85 percent of sales with combustion engine technology. A majority of companies plan a controlled, slow withdrawal from combustion technologies while at the same time building up the e-car business. "More radical strategies, such as an early and rapid market exit, are only pursued by a minority of respondents", said Deloitte car industry expert Harald Proff. Asked about the biggest barriers to a rapid transformation, the companies named a lack of political support and planning security, followed by increasing sustainability requirements, a slow expansion of renewable energies and a lack of skilled workers.

The shift to electric mobility heralds unprecedented challenges for Europe's car industry. In the face of increasingly ambitious climate targets, a phase-out of the combustion engine looks all but inevitable and is a set policy in an increasing number of countries. Europe's massive supplier industry looks set to be more heavily affected than the big carmakers, as many smaller companies depend on making parts for combustion engines that will no longer be needed in electric cars.

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