07 Feb 2022, 13:39
Julian Wettengel

Hybrid cars can be bridge to climate-neutral transportation - German transport minister

Clean Energy Wire

Hybrid cars can make an important contribution to CO2 savings and also facilitate the switch from combustion engines to electric vehicles, German transport minister Volker Wissing said in comments carried by major German newspapers Tagesspiegel, Zeit, Handelsblatt and WirtschaftsWoche. “I don't think it's a good idea to badmouth bridging technologies like the hybrid that help us make the transition,” said the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) politician, speaking at the Europe 2022 conference. In recent weeks there has been confusion over whether Wissing sees a role for combustion engines and e-fuels in passenger cars and whether the new coalition government’s  target of at least 15 million e-cars on German roads by 2030 includes hybrids. “I'm fine if we have 15 million fully electric vehicles, I'm also happy if we have hybrid vehicles that save more CO2 than the current vehicle fleet,” said Wissing, adding that he drives his own hybrid “on about two litres”, using the combustion engine only “for a few kilometres” when he needs the range. 

The coalition treaty mentions the 15 million target twice, but the exact definition of what constitutes an electric car remained unclear. One time the treaty refers to "electric" cars, which could include hybrid vehicles, and another time to  "fully electric" cars, which would rule out the hybrids. The car industry has called for a "mixed technology" approach to transport sector decarbonisation, arguing this could deliver significant CO2 emissions reduction while simultaneously preserving tens of thousands of jobs in the sector. Before the election, Wissing's FDP consistently advocated for including e-fuels in mobility transition plans. The European Union is currently debating stricter CO2 limits for the union’s car fleets as part of its ‘Fit for 55’ energy and climate legislation package and the German government has not yet agreed on a joint position, media has reported.

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