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Half-hearted end of the internal combustion engine

In the debate about the end of the internal combustion engine, Germany has now decided on a concrete date. However, the date of 2035 is much further in the future than in other countries. In addition, the government is leaving a loophole open with synthetic fuels for the internal combustion engine.

The pressure in the European community of states had probably become too great. Last week, Germany's Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) was still holding back in the debate about the end of the internal combustion engine. In a non-paper, many countries had demanded a concrete end to combustion cars from the European Commission. They are already stepping on the gas and banning more and more internal combustion vehicles in their environmental zones. From 2025, only electric vans and trucks are to be allowed to enter the Dutch zones. Now Scheuer has set a date of 2035 for the end of new registrations of combustion engines.

However, this date is significantly later than the forecasts of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). According to these, an end to combustion engines would have to come into force as early as 2025 in order to be able to comply with the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement. At least Scheuer wants to spend 300 million euros on more charging stations to further promote the purchase of electric cars. In the German environmental zones, however, nothing is happening with regard to the ban on older combustion cars. Scheuer rigorously rejects the stricter Euro 7 emission standard for combustion cars planned for 2025.

In addition, the minister is keeping a loophole open when it comes to phasing out combustion engines. Although he wants to ban traditional diesel and petrol engines, he wants to allow combustion engines with the use of eFuels beyond 2035. eFuels are synthetically produced fuels that can be used in combustion engines and refuelled in a similar way to diesel or petrol. The German car manufacturer Porsche is currently conducting intensive research into alternative fuels, partly so that it can continue to sell its popular sports cars. Greenpeace sees this move as fire-threatening for both the climate and the car industry. They say eFuels consume a lot of electricity in their production. An e-car drives 5 times as far with the same amount of electricity.

Speaking of eFuels: Scheuer likes to focus on innovative technology in his campaign for the mobility turnaround. He has earmarked more than 320 million euros for the project "German Centre for Future Mobility". It is intended to "bring together clever minds and new ideas", according to Scheuer. The Greens criticise that the minister's consultancy costs for this, like other projects, are clearly too high. Despite the lack of a concrete concept, a lot of taxpayers' money has already been wasted.

After the debacle surrounding the failed car toll and most recently the formal error in the road traffic regulations, the minister is unfortunately hardly trusted to put Germany on the right track in the mobility turnaround.