25 Jun 2019, 13:42
Sören Amelang

Merkel’s 'car summit' with industry yields meagre results – media reports

BR / Tagesspiegel Background

A high-profile meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and car industry representatives has yielded few tangible results, according to media reports. The ’car summit‘ lasted more than three hours but “little came out of it,” wrote Tobias Betz in an analysis for public broadcaster BR entitled “Future adjourned.” The country’s car industry lobby group VDA only said after the meeting that participants had agreed to work out a “master plan” to improve charging infrastructure in order to reduce obstacles for the roll-out of electric vehicles. Decisions are to be taken in a further meeting in autumn, but no date has been set yet, he writes.

Henrik Mortsiefer wrote in the energy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background that fundamental differences remain both between policymakers and industry, and within the car sector. BMW, Daimler and the country’s largest car industry suppliers warn against supporting electric mobility only and call for keeping an open mind to different propulsion technologies, such as fuels made with power-to-liquid technology. The leadership of Angela Merkel’s conservative party (CDU) also debated a paper on future mobility calling for taking a neutral stance regarding the technological options to clean up the sector. Spiegel Online called the paper a “rescue plan for the combustion engine.” In contrast, VW places a huge single bet on battery-electric vehicles, a stance that has already triggered an open dispute within the industry earlier this year.

Germany’s influential carmakers all have announced ambitious plans to increase the share of e-cars in their product portfolio over the next years. They have called on the government to support the shift through buyer’s premiums for e-cars, tax rebates and by building a dense network of charging stations. The government is under pressure to bring about changes in the transport sector, which has not significantly reduced its greenhouse gas emissions since 1990.

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