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“Auto Summit” with Merkel aims to promote change in the industry | Free Press

Berlin (dpa) – Ahead of a high-level meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel on the future of the auto industry, Union and SPD have spoken out in favor of extending premiums for the purchase of electric cars.

This promotion has caused a “remarkable change of opinion among consumers and manufacturers,” said the head of the SPD, Norbert Walter-Borjans, of the German press agency, before the videoconference on Tuesday night (7:00 pm ). The government now has to ensure continuity by expanding the premium, but also by expanding charging capacities and manufacturing battery cells.

Federal Economy Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) and the CSU had previously called for the extension of the premium for electric cars, through which car buyers can receive a subsidy of up to 9,000 euros, from 2021 to 2025 until now. Cars and plug-in hybrids that can drive both electrically and gasoline are promoted. Since the so-called environmental bonus was significantly increased through an innovation bonus, the sales figures have increased.

Representatives from the automotive industry, as well as from various countries, trade unionists and the leaders of the Union and the SPD will participate in the videoconference. Also on the agenda is a program to scrap and replace older trucks, this was demanded by the Minister of Transport, Andreas Scheuer (CSU), among others. The “automotive summits” are about the future of the important industry, which is under pressure, on the one hand, in the Corona crisis and, on the other, is supposed to create the shift towards environmentally friendly mobility and the weather.

A Foreign Ministry presentation in the run-up to the high-level meeting, which had not yet been coordinated with all ministries, promised another € 1 billion for the electric car voucher, as well as for truck subsidies, € 500 million. of which for companies and the same amount for the public. Acquisitions. In the case of trucks, models with new combustion engines that meet certain conditions, such as emitting comparatively few greenhouse gases, will be promoted.

“With trucks and specialty emergency vehicles, we want a quick switch to currently greener units through fleet exchange programs,” said Walter-Borjans. However, electric mobility and CO2-free drives would have to be “significantly more subsidized” than conventional drives.

Environmentalists criticize the project. One extension was “unacceptable,” said BUND traffic expert Jens Hilgenberg. This applies in particular to the promotion of plug-in hybrids. Instead, the federal government should help suppliers “break dependency on the automobile with new products.” Greenpeace expert Tobias Austrup said: “Instead of stretching expensive premiums for electric cars until they are never a day, substantial surcharges are needed for cars that damage the climate.” German Environmental Aid called for more freight traffic to be brought onto the rails instead of the truck scrapping bonus.

The leader of the green parliamentary group Anton Hofreiter called the possible extension of the purchase premium, on the other hand, “correct”, but also warned that it should become a “bonus-malus system” that favors clean cars and increases the price of cars that are bad for the climate and the environment. “That is easy on the budget and finally puts the incentives more on protecting the climate,” he told dpa. Hofreiter criticized that the expansion of the charging station network was too slow. Manufacturers also have to deliver on their own promises to install 15,000 of their own charging stations in public spaces, he warned.

Because if you want electric cars, you also need charging stations, and from the point of view of the VDA auto industry association, there are still very few. “Today there are already 13 electric cars in a charging point, according to our forecasts there will be 20 at Easter”, said Hildegard Müller, president of the VDA of the dpa. Municipalities have “a lot to do to catch up”. You want to address the issue clearly in the high-level discussion. “Having targets for increasing electric mobility is good, but I’m interested in implementation,” he said.

On the other hand, the energy association BDEW had pointed out the day before that the number of charging points accessible to the public had meanwhile risen to more than 33,000. According to the association, more than 5,300 charging points have been added in the last six months, despite the fact that the installation of a charging station has not yet paid off with the current number of electric cars. From a VDA point of view, around 200 charging points per week is not enough. According to the association, to achieve the government’s goal of a total of one million charging points by 2030, it would have to be ten times more.

The IG Metall union warned that it was about setting the course for a leading industry in Germany. “What is now being lost in terms of business and employment can no longer be innovative and cannot be transformed,” said dpa automotive expert Kai Bliesener. He reiterated the union’s call for a model of participation for internal combustion engine suppliers, who are particularly under pressure. The state and manufacturers are required to participate in the fund models.

Another ongoing topic in the industry is the handling of mobility data, such as what cars need and send to enable autonomous driving. Looking ahead to deliberations, ADAC cautioned that this was not just a matter for automakers. “On the contrary: especially for the automotive sector, you need a solution that ensures consumer data sovereignty,” said ADAC president of technology Karsten Schulze of the dpa. After all, this is personal data that is specially protected for good reason.