Commentary ‘the car’ as a discontinued model

Those were the days when Volkswagen could advertise "Das Auto" and boast of globally respected German engineering expertise in all aspects of the internal combustion engine. By Frank Pröse

That resourceful employees not only at VW would manipulate exhaust values and thus do a disservice to the industry, the clientele and ultimately also the public, was not to be guessed at that time.

For already three years we know about it still not everything, but more. This is one of the reasons why, in the wake of the diesel affair, there are more questions than answers about driving bans, retrofits and conversions, exchange premiums and compensation. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer may blather on about governmental concrete measures. But no one really knows them. The industry even ignores the resolutions because it is guided by lawyers and does not think of confidence-building, morally motivated compensation for all injured customers or even more nobly of responsibility for the climate and the health of the population. You will see how the stubborn paragraph riding will pay off …

In 2010, manufacturers officially came to terms with those nitrogen oxide limits, which they now consistently fail to meet. But what will happen to the limits that Europeans struggled to agree on this week?? Under those limits, the auto industry must cut carbon dioxide by another 35 percent by 2030, compared with 2021 levels. What climate protectionists consider to be far too low is already causing the automotive industry in Germany to sweat. The targets are too strict, they say. Of course, there's no arguing about that, especially since scientists consider a 60 percent reduction to be absolutely necessary and feasible. What is certain, however, is that even the slimmed-down but still unpopular targets up to 2021 cannot be circumvented by the industry through tricks with the prevailing technology or even through manipulation. This is especially true since the mass switch from the disgraced diesel to the CO2-critical gasoline-powered car is also totally screwing up the carbon dioxide balance.

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Commentary 'the car' as a discontinued model

The EU's CO2 targets for 2030 mark the end of pure combustion engines. Electric or hybrid engines can lead from the dead end, before in somewhat more distant future in all probability hydrogen might be the obligatory drive in the mobile range. Only very few German manufacturers are well prepared for the electric drives favored by the competition in Asia. The currently loud warnings of the industry before job losses are attached to the Diesel debate, are however honestly rather to be attributed to the announcing new age, for which VW, BMW, Mercedes&.. Co. Seem insufficiently equipped due to their hesitant strategy in recent years. The development of the manufacturers in the German share index proves the skepticism also of the investors.

With the foreseeable end of combustion engines, the question of the general organization of traffic is also raised, which is somewhat lost in the current heated discussion about the right drive system. Remember: Even e-cars or hydrogen vehicles can get stuck in traffic jams. It might help to park them on the outskirts of the city and transport the occupants through the city by cable car, as suggested by the Frankfurt/RhineMain regional association. It would, of course, be just one of many cogs that have to mesh to avoid collapse. In any case, "The Car" is no longer worth thinking about in this respect.

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