VW, Germany’s biggest carmaker, has specified its ambitions to become the “world market leader in e-mobility”. The company’s “TRANSFORM 2025+” strategy foresees making “e-cars the new trademark” of the core VW company. It also aims to sell one million e-cars annually within less than ten years, VW’s brand director Herbert Diess said in the press statement. The carmaker will invest some 2.5 billion euros in its “e-offensive”, which will “fundamentally alter” its corporate structure, Diess added. VW recently announced it was going to axe about 30,000 jobs worldwide in a shift to e-mobility that followed last year’s revelations of a large-scale emission fraud scheme practised by the carmaker.
Read the press release in English here.
For background on VW’s shifting strategy, see the CLEW factsheet Dieselgate forces VW to embrace green mobility.
The latest remarks of VW’s CEO Michael Müller on Germans’ alleged unwillingness to take advantage of the carmaker’s green product range have caused irritation and protest by politicians and mobility experts, write Stefan Menzel and Dietmar Neuerer in Handelsblatt. Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), said German carmakers “only understood with Tesla that e-cars actually exist”. Lower-Saxony’s [VW’s home state] economy minister Olaf Lies said that a CEO criticising his customers’ buying decisions was “completely on the wrong track”. Müller previously said in an interview that there was “no lack of supply” for e-cars in Germany, but customers were “reticent” when it comes to e-mobility. VW recently vowed to commence a shift towards e-mobility, but the cheapest e-car currently costs about 27,000 euros, whereas the cheapest conventional car costs less than 10,000 euros, the authors write.
Read the article in German (behind paywall) here.
Germany will significantly miss its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels unless the government quickly implements additional measures beyond its Climate Action Programme from 2014, according to a study by Institute for Future Energy Systems (IZES). The gap to reach the 2020 target is even bigger than current government projections predict, according to the study commissioned by environmental organisations BUND, Climate-Alliance, Oxfam, WWF and Greenpeace. “Overly optimistic assumptions about the future development of emissions are the reason for this large discrepancy,” writes BUND in a press release. The five organisations demand, among other things, a faster exit from coal-fired power generation. “Nobody can be under the illusion that the climate goal is attainable without shutting down more coal power plants,” said Greenpeace climate expert Karsten Smid.
Read the CLEW article Ministry projections highlight risk of Germany missing emissions goal.
CDU / Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Energy and climate policy is likely to play a minor role in the 2017 election campaign programme of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), writes Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The party leadership on Monday decided on the text of the main motion for the upcoming federal party conference. “At the very end, an ‘environmental- and climate-friendly growth’ is advertised, as well as the marked-economy based development of renewable energies and the reconciliation of ecology and economy,” writes Mihm.
For background on the federal elections 2017 read the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.
Angela Merkel’s decision to run for a fourth term as chancellor is a reason for delight for Germany’s right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), writes Jens Schneider in a commentary for Süddeutsche Zeitung, Merkel embodies everything the AfD opposes - from immigration affairs to energy policy - sparking hopes by its chairwoman Frauke Petry that the chancellor’s renewed bid for heading the government “will mobilise supporters” on the right, Schneider writes. With Merkel, a politician who “spearheaded the Energiewende’s collapse” was going to stand for re-election, Schneider quoted Petry as saying. The AfD at times “moves around in its own little world in which climate change does not exist” and regards the Energiewende as unnecessary, Schneider says.
Read the article in German here.
For more information on Germany’s election year and energy transition, see the CLEW dossier Vote2017 - German elections and the Energiewende.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The transition to e-mobility should be organised in a way that prevents “technical or societal breaks”, Holger Appel writes in an opinion piece in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The government should also restrict itself to setting realistic guidelines while leaving the rest to companies and customers. “They know best which technology is attractive. And only if that is the case, will [the technology] find its (green) way,” writes Appel.
About a third of German utilities will raise their electricity prices by an average of 3.5 percent in 2017, according to price comparison website verivox. This means additional costs of 41 euros per year for an average four-person home. The suppliers passed on higher costs for levies and fees, such as the grid fees, on to the customers, according to verivox. Most utilities, however, hold off on price increases until later in the year. “We expect a second price wave in the spring of 2017,” said Jan Lengerke, a member of the management at verivox.
Read the press release in German here.
For background read the CLEW factsheet What German households pay for power.
Reuters / Uniper
The prospect of an improving performance has given the shares of E.ON’s conventional energy spin-off Uniper a boost, the Reuters news agency reports. Uniper expects an adjusted ‘earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization’ of 1.9 billion to 2.2 billion euros this year, the company said in a press release on its report on the first nine months 2016. Uniper continued a “solid operating performance”, especially in the gas business, but reports a nine-month net loss of 4.2 billion euros. This was “attributable to non-cash effective valuation effects”. This figure was largely already disclosed in the results for the first half of 2016 and “more than offset” adverse effects caused by “significantly lower achieved power prices” in Europe, writes Uniper in the release.
Uniper’s parent company E.ON recently announced a loss of 9.3 billion euros, caused by the spin-off’s unexpectedly low market capitalisation.
Lower CO2-emissions of cars can be achieved even without relying on e-cars “to beef up the quota”, according to a new study by the non-profit organisation International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Max Hägler writes in Süddeutsche Zeitung. The ICCT’s analysis demonstrated that “reaching the target of 70 grams CO2 per kilometre by 2025 on average for the entire fleet of newly registered cars” would be possible even if combustion engines still accounted for the vast majority of registrations, the ICCT’s Europe director Peter Mock told the newspaper. However, this meant “additional investments between 1,000 and 2,150 euros per vehicle”, he added. But since these lower emissions were associated with lower fuel costs, customers would financially benefit from the upgrade “already after a few years”.
Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.
For further information on Germany’s automotive industry and energy transition, see the CLEW dossier The Energiewende and German carmakers.