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Dream of e-mobility a long way off

Despite the efforts of European countries to ban internal combustion engines, they will be with us on the roads for a long time to come. The plan to switch to e-cars is designed to last for decades. Moreover, used combustion cars will not be targeted.

New registration of internal combustion cars will be banned, that much is certain. In Great Britain, the year 2030 is targeted, at least for pure combustion cars, in Germany, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) recently set the year 2035. France wants to take the step in 2040.

There is still a long way to go. Admittedly, most car manufacturers have fully prepared themselves for the electric market. Volkswagen, for example, plans to launch 50 new electric models by 2030. BMW will expand its range by 10 e-cars in the next 2 years alone. By 2030, both manufacturers want to increase the share of electric vehicles in new registrations globally to 50%. VW even wants to reach 60% on the European continent.

Today, however, the share of e-cars, for example in Germany, is vanishingly small. Of the 48.2 million passenger cars in this country, less than 1 percent are powered by electricity - even if hybrid vehicles are included. Even if their share of new cars increases in the next few years, petrol and diesel will remain on the roads for a long time. On average, the lifespan of a passenger car in Germany is 9.5 years. Some brands, such as VW, are significantly longer.

Hildegard Müller, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), took a negative view of Scheuer's statement to ban the registration of new combustion cars by 2035. She pointed out that setting a date was too early and that without a changeover to renewable energies, electric cars would not be able to contribute to climate protection.

Likewise, eFuels could only make existing combustion engines cleaner with sustainable energy. Electricity is needed to produce eFuels. The alternative fuels can then be used in petrol and diesel engines to reduce emissions on the roads. eFuels, however, are less efficient than battery-powered vehicles and thus require significantly more electricity. If the electricity used to produce the eFuels is generated from coal, the concept makes no sense. However, the same applies to e-cars. The energy transition must therefore always be part of the mobility transition.

So the switch to e-cars is still a long way from achieving clean air in our cities. Existing combustion engines and the electricity mix of alternative drives are holding us back. In the end, the only way to reduce air and noise pollution in cities is to impose ever stricter bans in environmental zones.