VW is phasing out development of internal combustion engines
Posted On March 21, 2021
The German Volkswagen Group no longer wants to develop new combustion engines for its main brand VW, as it does for Audi. “At the moment I am not assuming that a completely new engine family will be launched again,” said brand boss Ralf Brandstätter of “Automobilwoche”.
However, the units currently in use will be further developed. “We still need them for a certain amount of time and they have to be as efficient as possible.” Brandstätter had already announced that VW expected to bring the last combustion engines to the streets in 2040.
Meanwhile, at the weekend, several German environmental organizations ordered an end to the internal combustion engine by 2030. In a joint letter, they called on German car manufacturers not to sell any new vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2030 at the latest. Manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW would instead have to gear their production towards “efficient and low-consumption electric vehicles”, according to a letter signed by the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz (BUND), Germanwatch and Deutsche Umwelthilfe, among others. The requirement to stop sales applies equally to hybrid vehicles. “The SUV models that have been announced are a mistake in terms of climate policy,” write the associations, which also reject synthetic fuels and fuels from biomass in road traffic.
Germany’s Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer had only a few days ago announced that the fossil fuel combustion would end by 2035. Contrary to what environmental groups demand, the CSU politician wants to use synthetic fuels. Only the classic combustion engine, which is powered by gasoline or diesel, should be phased out within the next 15 years, said the CSU politician of “Welt am Sonntag”.
The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) also advocated the increased use of synthetic fuels. “The problem is not the combustion engine, but the fossil fuels,” said VDMA President Karl Haeusgen to the Berlin “Tagesspiegel” (Monday). Just looking at the huge number of cars, it is “completely clear that we also need synthetic fuels for the stock in order to emit less CO2”. These could be made with green hydrogen, for example.
But nobody will build appropriate refineries and invest in the further development of the technologies when it is said that 2035 will be over. “I am against banning an engine. It would shorten the discussion and would even be harmful to the climate, because climate-beneficial technologies that are connected to the piston engine would cut off the mass market,” Haeusgen told the newspaper.
The transport sector – especially road traffic – is responsible for a large part of the climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions, also in Austria. According to the Federal Environment Agency, the amount emitted in Germany in 2020 was 146 million tons. Experts attribute the reduction of 19 million tons of greenhouse gases compared to the previous year in part to less mobility during the corona pandemic.
The EU Commission wants to propose new and more ambitious emission limit values for cars and vans by the end of 2021. They should come into force in 2025. As a result, the automotive industry fears that the classic combustion engine will end prematurely – exactly what environmental associations are now emphatically demanding.
Only recently, several EU countries, including Austria, wrote to the EU Commission asking for an exit date for the sale of cars with internal combustion engines, i.e. gasoline and diesel cars.