07 Feb 2023, 13:08
Benjamin Wehrmann

German car industry and politicians say new Euro 7 car emissions target technically unfeasible

Die Zeit / Handelsblatt

The planned EU car emissions target norm, Euro 7, has come under fire from the German car industry and the country’s transport minister, who argue the regulation will threaten many jobs in the sector and make it more difficult for carmakers to achieve the switch to electric mobility. “Regulation has to support mobility, not prevent it,” transport minister Volker Wissing told news agency dpa in an article carried by Die Zeit. He argued making cars more expensive would turn individual mobility into a luxury whilst hampering effective climate action in the sector. A modern combustion engine powered with synthetic fuels could reconcile the apparently conflicting needs for mobility and climate action, an option the EU Commission “must not obstruct,” he continued. Car industry representatives told business newspaper Handelsblatt the Euro 7 norm would pose unrealistic tasks for manufacturers, who would have to build cars that abide by emissions limits in ‘any case’, regardless of factors like temperature or road gradient. The regulation could increase production costs by up to 1,000 euros per vehicle and would occupy precious engineering capacity to improve combustion engines instead of electric vehicles, according to the representatives.

The planned target has also been criticised by the heads of government of Germany’s three most important carmaking states: Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria and Lower Saxony. The state premiers Winfried Kretschmann, Markus Söder and Stephan Weil called for “measured regulation” that comes with conditions “that can be achieved from a technological and economic perspective,” the three state leaders said in a letter to chancellor Olaf Scholz seen by Handelsblatt. 

The EU Commission’s Euro 7 target aims to reduce car emissions, which are the greatest source of air pollution in cities. Under the new target, nitrogen oxide emissions from passenger cars would fall by 35 percent by 2035 and by 50 percent for buses and lorries. The rule could enter into force in 2025, if the European parliament and member states agree to the Commission’s proposal.

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