German carmakers can't shake off dieselgate – VW executives charged, Daimler fined
Clean Energy Wire / New York Times
New dieselgate troubles complicate the profound overhaul needed at German carmakers for the switch to sustainable mobility. Prosecutors charged VW's highest ranking executives with stock market manipulation related to the emission fraud scandal, while Daimler agreed to pay a fine of 870 million euros for selling diesel cars that polluted more than allowed. "The legal actions were a further setback to the German car industry, the backbone of the economy, when it is struggling with declining sales and a transition to electric vehicles," wrote Jack Ewing in the New York Times. "The allegations against Hans Dieter Pötsch, the chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board, and Herbert Diess, the chief executive, mean that the world’s largest automaker will be led by criminal defendants as it tries to refashion itself as a climate-friendly manufacturer of affordable electric cars."
VW pledged this year to transform itself from dieselgate pariah into e-mobility pioneer, and has committed dozens of billions of euros to the task. The world's largest carmaker plans to slowly phase out combustion engines from 2026, sell 22 million electric cars within a decade, and be entirely carbon-neutral by 2050. Daimler also promised this year to make the entire Mercedes-Benz Cars fleet carbon neutral by 2039.