26 Feb 2021, 12:14
Charlotte Nijhuis

New EU car emissions rules could lead to major job losses – BMW works council head

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Stricter European passenger car CO2 limits could lead to major job losses, Manfred Schoch, chairman of the BMW Group Works Council, said during an event of the Mobil in Deutschland car club in Munich, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes. The European Commission plans to present a proposal for stricter emissions standards, the so-called Euro 7 standard, by the end of the year. Parts of the German automotive industry say that if EU emissions limits are set too strict, it will put an end to combustion engine cars by 2025. "We will experience unemployment like we have never seen before,” Schoch said. The president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Hildegard Müller, said the EU proposal is unrealistic. Not everyone could afford a new electric car immediately, she said, adding that the charging infrastructure was lacking. The leader of the pro-business party FDP, Christian Lindner, said the EU is setting the wrong incentives by excluding e-fuels and privileging battery cars. Lindner argued it would be easier to let the millions of combustion engine cars run on synthetic fuels produced, for example, with solar power.

Many carmakers, policymakers and green mobility experts argue that shifting to electric cars is the quickest and most efficient way to lower transport emissions. But the German car industry association VDA and many suppliers say a sole focus on electric mobility is misguided. They argue that synthetic fuels and hydrogen fuel cells will also be needed to clean up transport, even though they require much more energy because of conversion losses. Producing synthetic fuels is energy intensive and costly, and a lot of energy is wasted as heat when using them in a combustion engine vehicle. From an industry perspective, synthetic fuels are a tempting proposal because they could be used in existing infrastructure and combustion engines, thereby throwing a lifeline to companies specialising in conventional engine technology. In November of last year, German chancellor Angela Merkel warned against excessively strict exhaust regulations for the European car industry, such as the planned Euro 7 emissions standard. The German government wanted to advance the transition to electric mobility, “but of course we will still be dependent on combustion engines for the next years,” Merkel said. 

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