Hard to see Germany’s mighty motor industry taking this lying down, even if it’s not law just yet. A bad case of ‘greenhouse gas disease’ in the minds of legislators?
Germany invented the gasoline engine and diesel engine. Now, Germany’s Bundesrat wants the internal combustion engine banned starting in 2030, says ExtremeTech. The resolution by one of Germany’s two legislative bodies (analogous to the US Senate or British House of Lords) isn’t binding, but it had bipartisan support.
It suggests the days of the internal combustion engine car are finite. Other code phrases in the resolution, once deciphered, suggest Germany wants to roll back tax credits favoring diesel engine cars, and push for further incentives to ramp up the sales of electric vehicles.
Why a non-binding resolution is still a cannon shot
Cars and trucks represent low-hanging fruit for those who want to roll back internal combustion engine pollution. Trains, planes, and ships aren’t going to run on batteries anytime soon.
Germany wants to reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 95% by 2050, according to Der Spiegel, which first reported the story. This in a country that reveres the automobile and develops many of the world’s highest-technology cars, from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. It may be that electrification may get more engineering resources than even autonomous driving.
Europe in general sees global warming as a more immediate concern than the US, and it sees transportation activities as a major contributor. Transportation (cars, trucks, motorcycles, trains, planes, boats) represented 26% of US greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA. The increase outstripped the other sectors: electricity generation, industry, agriculture, residential, and commercial.
Globally, transportation represents 14% of greenhouse gas emissions. That, too, grows out of proportion to other sectors, especially with the emerging middle classes in China and India.
Quick clampdown on diesels?
The language of the resolution was oblique in places. Running a de-obfuscation filter suggests diesels are out and EVs are in.
The resolution says that at “[the] latest in 2030, only zero-emission passenger vehicles will be approved,” means Germany wants the EU Commission in Brussels to move quickly transitioning Europe to electric vehicles. Approvals are generally at the EU and not country level. In the past, the EU has often followed German regulations and resolutions, because it’s the most advanced car-building country in Europe.
ExtremeTech concludes: A resolution to shift to EVs by 2030 might get pushed back. But in Germany at least, it’s a sign that the gasoline or diesel-powered car or truck has a finite lifespan.