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Advance to more climate-friendly transportation? | Free Press

Berlin (dpa) – Longer purchase premiums for electric vehicles, control of the expansion of the charging network, switch to cleaner trucks, a future fund for suppliers: the “car summit” has once again expanded the package of state funding for central German industry.

The answer is partly positive, but some would have liked approaches to comprehensive traffic change. Timing is of the essence: the EU car market is falling again, while the British aim to end the combustion engine by 2030.

Incentives to buy until 2025: The “innovation bonus” for buyers of hybrid and electric cars will be offered not only until the end of 2021, but for four more years. This will cost the federal government up to an additional € 1 billion. Clients can still receive a maximum of 9,000 euros in grant. In addition to the pure electric models, the plug-in hybrids, in which the electric motor supports a diesel or gasoline engine, have also been subsidized; environmentalists see this as a sham. In the future, hybrids will only be subsidized “if they have a minimum range of 60 kilometers from 2022 and at least 80 kilometers from 2025.”

Expansion of the charging network: The rise in electronic subsidies has stimulated demand for cars with alternative driving, but many consumers still do not have a charging station near them. According to the industry, a “future needs orientation” is necessary. The federal government’s goal: by the end of 2022, fast charging options at every fourth gas station, by the end of 2024 in every second, by the end of 2026 in three quarters. Initially, a voluntary commitment by the industry is sought, which the state intends to support with financing until the end of 2022. If that does not work, there will be legal regulation.

When it came to exhaustion, others raised: The Greens were in favor of allowing only emission-free cars in Germany from 2030. This target year for a combustion engine is now a fixed target in Britain. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that sales would be banned and hybrid models would remain allowed until 2035. This is changing a huge market, says industry expert Stefan Bratzel: “a signal for the continent.” Greenpeace’s Tobias Austrup fears: “As more and more European countries are adopting plans to phase out the combustion engine ever more rapidly to protect the climate, Germany threatens to become the last Gallic town for diesel and gasoline.”

The general sales crisis still has no end: the boom in electric and hybrid cars continued in the most important European markets in October. In Germany, one in six new registrations was for a model of this type and, in total, almost five times more fully electric cars were on the road than a year ago. Overall, however, there was another setback in the last month: after the mini-recovery in September, the number of all new car registrations in the EU decreased by more than 7 percent, in Germany it fell by about 4 percent. .

Truck Scrapping Bonus: More low-CO2 units will be put on the road in heavy commercial vehicles and the federal government is initiating a scrapping program. Here too the cost is one billion euros. Half is reserved for the exchange of trucks for the emission standards Euro 3, 4 or 5 in Euro 6, the other half for public procurement, for example for fire trucks. Environmentalists complain that modern diesel engines are also being promoted. The head of the Federal Environment Agency, Dirk Messner, warned that this could damage climate protection because it would make the purchase of pure electric trucks even more remote. However, heavy freight traffic is still unable to tap into a remote cargo network across Europe.

Future fund against difficulties in the face of industry turmoil: Small suppliers, in particular, are struggling with the pace of change towards alternative and increasingly digital units in production and vehicle networks. This is another reason why a future fund for the automotive industry is planned, in which the federal government plans to disburse another one billion euros. The aim is a “strategic structural policy orientation” for Germany, but also a strategy for change, especially in regions with a particularly large number of companies in the industry (car clusters).

This is what associations, companies and unions say: The director of the association of the automobile industry VDA, Hildegard Müller, considers that the new commitments are an “important contribution”. A “paradigm shift” is emerging. “The future also includes modern combustion engines,” he said Wednesday. “Here we must work with all our strength to make fuel use CO2 neutral.” Müller considers the considerations on significantly stricter EU standards for nitrogen oxide emissions critical: “What this standard offers is practically impossible from a technical point of view. We hope that Ursula von der Leyen will accept this impractical proposal from your committee. ”

VW, the world’s largest car company, assesses the summit resolutions as a decisive step: one sees “political will to shape.” Daimler truck boss Martin Daum said the scrapping program provided “a rapidly effective lever to improve air quality.” IG Metall chief Jörg Hofmann said the exchange program could support the weak economy and the tense employment situation.

Here’s what other environmental and consumer advocates are saying: In addition to criticism from Greenpeace and the Federal Environment Agency, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) sees deficits. Not all aid could be clearly verified for sustainability, said German board member Eberhard Brandes. “The economic aid must be clearly oriented to the conversion to a socio-ecological economy and accelerate it.” Klaus Müller, director of the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations, emphasizes: “The change in traffic is more than promoting electric cars.” He also missed more support for people who want to switch to local transportation, train or carpooling.