28 Jun 2021, 13:36
Benjamin Wehrmann

Volkswagen brand to phase out combustion engines in Europe by 2035

Münchner Merkur

Europe's largest car brand Volkswagen will end the sale of combustion engine cars in the region by the middle of the next decade, branch manager Klaus Zellmer said in an interview with newspaper Münchner Merkur. "We prepare for a possible tightening of [EU climate] regulations," Zellmer told the newspaper, adding that Volkswagen will phase out combustion engines in its production lines in Europe between 2033 and 2035. A similar move would be made in the US and in China "a bit later," whereas a complete shift in Africa or South America would take significantly longer due to lacking infrastructure for e-mobility. The Volkswagen brand of umbrella company VW, which also owns other brands like Audi, Skoda or Porsche, would increase its share of electric vehicles to 70 percent of total sales in the region by 2030, Zellmer said.

However, he stressed the debate about climate targets would still be "unfinished." The Volkswagen manager said some countries in Europe would ban combustion engines sooner than others, while e-cars would not make sense ecologically in some countries due to a high coal share in power production. "That's why we need a little wiggle room regarding the use of combustion engines or battery-electric cars." He added that Volkswagen would continue to invest in improving the efficiency of its combustion engines and plans to use diesel fuel technology in the future. Zellmer also said that the difficulties the European car industry experienced in recent months with procuring sufficient volumes of semiconductors from Asia highlighted the benefits of installing independent European production capacities. "This reduces costs, lowers emissions and allows us to react quickly."

Electric cars will need to account for most new registrations in Germany in just four years and the end of new combustion engine cars will have to begin in 2030, according to a recent report by the National Platform Future of Mobility (NPM) for the Federal Transport Ministry. In order to achieve the federal government's climate targets in the transport sector, around a third of all vehicles – some 14 million cars – will need to be electric by 2030, the report states. Last year, the German car industry commited to achieving climate-neutrality by 2050, but rejected a sole focus on electric mobility.

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