Merkel signals support for eventual ban of combustion engine
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced support for the idea of banning internal combustion engine cars sometime in the future, as planned by other European countries, such as France and the UK. “I cannot name a specific date now, but the approach is right, because if we invest more in charging infrastructure and technology for e-cars fast, a general transition will structurally be possible”, she said in an interview with the German weekly magazine SUPERillu, to be published on 17 August. In a statement before the summer break, a federal government spokesperson had said that a ban on diesel or petrol cars was “currently not on the agenda”. In the interview, Merkel said that Germany would still need combustion engines for some time, but could only reach its “ambitious 2050 climate targets” if the transport sector also emitted less CO₂. She said that modern diesel cars were needed in the meantime, as they emitted less CO₂ than petrol cars.
In a televised interview with public broadcaster Phoenix, Merkel said that the German car industry had to “see the writings on the wall” regarding the future of mobility. “Otherwise, foreign companies will come one day and show how it’s done, how e-cars are made. I would like to avoid that”, she said. Asked about criticism of her absence from the first diesel summit in July, Merkel said she would attend the next meeting in autumn “as chancellor” – if she was successful in the elections. Merkel, who is leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), also said that her party would not form a coalition with the Left Party or the Alternative for Germany (AfD) after the elections in September, explaining that “apart from that we do not run coalition campaigns”.
Find an article on the SUPERillu interview in German here and watch the Phoenix interview in German here. Find a Reuters article on the topic in English here.
For background, read the CLEW factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany.