From the point of view of a government commission, the electrification of road traffic must gain momentum significantly in the coming years. “Despite considerable technical advances, the transport sector has not been able to reduce CO2 emissions in recent years,” said the final report of the National Platform for the Future of Mobility (NPM), which was presented on Wednesday. The volume of traffic is growing particularly in freight transport. At the same time, climate targets would be tightened.
According to the expert panel, by 2030 “up to 14 million Electric vehiclesbe on the move in Germany in order to make a sufficient contribution to the implementation of the climate targets in transport that were tightened in June. The previous planning horizon for the automotive industry would have been seven to ten million electric cars by 2030. Against the background of the tightening of the fleet limit values prepared by the EU Commission and announcements by the manufacturers, however, a significantly higher level “is assumed to be realistic and may be necessary to achieve the climate targets”.
More charging options required
However, the German car fleet is still a long way from achieving the desired levels, even if the proportion of electric cars among new registrations is increasing. According to figures from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), 48.25 million cars were registered in Germany at the beginning of this year , of which around 309,000 were purely electric cars – a share of 0.6 percent. However, the number of new electric cars registered has increased: According to KBA data, around 2.02 million new cars came onto the road in the first nine months of 2021. These included almost 237,000 cars with a purely electric drive – a market share of almost 12 percent.
The automotive industry association VDA reiterated its warning that an area-wide charging infrastructure is necessary for the ramp-up of electromobility, “which gives people the confidence that they can charge anywhere”.
The platform expressly refrains from concentrating one-sidedly on e-mobility when converting car traffic. The committee recommends plug-in hybrids with electric drives and combustion engines as “trailblazers” that could introduce customers to electric mobility.
“That is exactly our topic”
The NPM was commissioned by the federal government three years ago to submit proposals for climate neutrality in traffic and for maintaining a competitive auto industry. Participants in the commission, which consists of 240 experts, criticized the fact that the conclusions were too heavy-handed. The final report also recommends that public transport by road and rail should become more attractive and flexible. Several associations, including the BUND and the German Association of Towns, criticized “the lack of will to noticeably reduce car traffic” and demanded that the next federal government give priority to walking and cycling as well as local and long-distance public transport. The chairwoman of the conference of transport ministers of the federal states, Bremen Senator Maike Schaefer (Green), who was also involved in the platform, emphasized that the mobility transition needed more alternatives to car ownership.
Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer rejected the criticism. Road traffic accounted for 95 percent of traffic-related CO2 emissions. “That is exactly our topic, where do I get the fastest measure when it comes to reaching the climate targets, and that is simply the subject of the road, and the car is one of them.” VDA boss Hildegard Mller emphasized that cars are indispensable for many people, especially in rural areas. They are willing to use different means of transport, but they do not always find suitable offers. “There is still a lot of catching up to do here.”
Kagermann hopes for more jobs
Scheuer appealed to the auto industry to manufacture more parts in Germany. It would be the wrong message to motorists to offer bonuses for the purchase of e-vehicles, “but end consumers then have to wait nine months for the product because various parts are not available”. In the industry there are always production stops because, for example, semiconductors are missing. Important suppliers are located in Asia. The CSU politician said: “I hope that the decisive factor is not only the global perspective of a manufacturer, but also what components absolutely have to remain in Germany in order to maintain the supply chains in Germany”.
NPM boss Henning Kagermann was optimistic that the climate-neutral conversion of traffic would ultimately create more jobs than destroy. The greatest challenge, however, is the qualification. “The difficulty is getting there because there are different jobs” and significantly more experts for digitization and services would be needed. “The question is: will I get today’s employment team over to the new world?” For employment, too, it is important to be able to manufacture as many of the parts required for e-mobility as possible competitively in Germany. (dpa / gem)
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