German politicians could hardly behave more paradoxically: The German government is promoting the mobility revolution and the switch to electric cars, but prefers to drive diesels itself. The Ministry of Transport is doing particularly badly. It has failed as a role model.
A new report on the electrification of the federal government's vehicle fleet leaves one speechless. Only 2.4 percent of the vehicles are electric. And this despite the fact that the government is demanding that citizens switch to electric.
Above all, the Ministry of Transport headed by Andreas Scheuer (CSU) scores enormously poorly. With a share of 6.3 percent, it is in second-to-last place. Although all vehicles in the ministry itself are electric, only about 5 percent of the 2,100 vehicles in the offices belonging to the ministry are green. The Ministry of Defence performs even worse than the Ministry of Transport, with only 1.6 per cent.
According to the report, the best performers are the Ministry of Development with an all-electric fleet, the Foreign Office with 82.4 per cent and the Ministry of the Environment with 57.9 per cent.
However, it is not only the type of vehicles our politicians drive, but also their constant use that lacks solidarity with the citizens. Berlin's transport senator Regine Günther (Greens) drives a Tesla - a car most Germans can only dream of, by the way, and which was certainly financed by the taxpayer - but she has a chauffeur drive her around to every appointment. When asked why Ms Günther did not ride a bicycle, she said that she already did a lot of this in her private life and that she simply had too many files with her to take them with her on a bicycle. In addition, she had to have confidential conversations all the time, which she could of course do much better on the back seat of the comfortable Tesla. Hard-working citizens who cycle to work in the morning on their laptops and have their first conversation on the side can probably only shake their heads. In March 2019, she still said: "We want people to get rid of their cars." With that, Ms Günther probably didn't mean her own.
The frustration about the traffic turnaround in Germany can only grow. People who rely on their cars every day because there are only poor alternatives in many cities are getting more and more obstacles in their way. Parking spaces are already scarce, and now parking prices in Berlin are to be increased to make driving even less attractive. Where does Ms Günther actually park? People who would like to drive an electric car, or at least a hybrid, find a patchy charging network with a wide variety of providers, apps and prices.
Germans love their cars. To change this, there must be sensible alternatives and the hurdles that people face in their everyday lives without a car must finally be taken seriously by politicians. They themselves must show solidarity and become role models. At the moment, things look different: Other countries are abolishing diesel, the German government is driving it.