While Volkswagen Group plans to go all electric by 2033 in the EU, some German drivers and BMW would like to keep their tailpipe polluters. After agreeing to the EU regulation to ban internal combustion light vehicles by 2035, the FDP, the smallest member of the German governing coalition, is walking back its agreement to this law. This European law is part of the European Green Deal. (The German governing coalition has 416 seats in the 736-seat-large Bundestag. SPD has 206 seats, the Greens contribute 118, and the FDP holds 92 seats.)
The FDP wants to require that biofuel-powered vehicles be exempt. There are not enough biofuels for any significant number of cars, so it will be a small niche market, but they hope voters will reward them for their fight “for the German car industry.” It is more for the fear of the transition than real benefits for the car industry. Well before 2035, the complete EU light vehicle market will transition to fully electric vehicles. There is likely zero benefit to the German car industry if the EU gives in to this demand.
The only German people who doubt it are some car-industry dinosauria, like in BMW’s top management. They are joined by people afraid of change and allergic to the thought of EU regulations hurting their car industry. In reality, the EU regulations help to keep the German car industry strong and able to compete with China. We are in a transition-or-die period.
My advice to the EU would be to give this small party what they want. It will be an empty promise. The invisible hand of the market can correct this loophole easily.
Italy, Poland, and Bulgaria are also opposed to the new regulation. But with Germany voting for the new law, there is a qualified majority to adopt the law. Without Germany, the climate change lovers can block this development. With enough climate warming, Poland can create a large wine industry like Italy has now (in theory). But I think they are just afraid the fully electric cars will stay too expensive for large parts of the Polish population.
Like the Romanian Dacia Spring, some Chinese models, and the just announced Tesla plans are showing, we can expect a significant reduction in electric car price in the coming years. It is incomprehensible that a serious German party can take such big risks with the climate and their own reputation for some cheap and nonsensical election rhetoric.
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