16 Jul 2020, 13:52
Benjamin Wehrmann

Volkswagen and Bosch CEOs clash over future use of hydrogen in cars

Die Welt

German car industry heavyweights Volkswagen and Bosch are at odds over the use of hydrogen in mobility, with the world's largest carmaker clinging to a "dogma" of electric cars, Olaf Preuß writes for Die Welt. Volkswagen head Herbert Diess recently reiterated the company's position to fully bet on e-cars and disregard other low-carbon propulsion systems, such as hydrogen fuel cells. "We drive fully electrically. It doesn't make a lot of sense at this point to think about bringing hydrogen into passenger cars," Diess said at a discussion with car industry managers organised by consultancy PwC earlier this week. Volkmar Denner, head of the world's largest automotive industry supplier Bosch, contradicted Diess’s assessment that battery-driven e-cars are currently the only economically viable option, arguing that both fuel cells and synthetic fuels play an important role in bringing down emissions in the transport sector.

More efficient electrolysis procedures and bigger wind power turbines, especially at sea, could help to drastically reduce green hydrogen production costs and make it attractive for the transport sector, especially for applications that include long-distance drives and heavy freight transport, for example for coaches and lorries. Many climate experts say hydrogen should not be used in cars, because the direct use of electricity from batteries is a much more energy-efficient way to power them. But it remains to be seen whether batteries are too heavy to power trucks and busses.

Since the revelation of its key role in the dieselgate emissions fraud scandal, VW has more actively moved into electric mobility than most of its competitors, with the model ID.3 supposed to be its door opener for the mass use of e-cars. However, the new brand chief of VW recently appeared to play down the group’s transition to a full focus on electric vehicles, saying the company will continue to offer combustion models for “a long time.”

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