It wasn’t even a year ago when it said: no doubt about the cleanliness of modern diesels. It wasn’t the auto industry that said this, but the ecologically oriented verkehrsclub deutschland (VCD) when it presented its annual car environmental list.
On wednesday, a special edition appeared: only with electric cars. The club no longer wants to know much about diesel and gasoline-only vehicles.
"Every new car with an internal combustion engine that hits the roads today will continue to emit climate-damaging carbon dioxide for the next 15 years," said transport policy spokesman michael muller-gornert. "That’s why the phase-out of gasoline and diesel must take place now."
And in the meantime, the offer for buyers is actually growing. German carmakers are boasting: "our manufacturers and suppliers are investing 40 billion euros in electromobility over the next three years, and by 2023 they will have increased the number of e-models they offer to 150."
ADAC motorwelt" already headlines: "finally affordable and suitable for everyday use". Carmakers were now getting serious about the e-car – even though they had not yet abandoned the development of crude "horsepower monsters.
But you still see few electric cars on the road, 200.000 out of 47 million, the VCD notes with disillusionment. A look at the new environmental list shows that most e-cars are still comparatively expensive, and fully electric cars still don’t go as far on a single battery charge as they do on a full tank of gas. From 200 to 450 kilometers is the range.
But the list is very incomplete, only 19 models are on it, the VW egolf and the BMW i3 being the only german brands. According to the VCD, many manufacturers either provided no data or unrealistic data. Next week, customers will presumably be asking questions: that’s when the international motor show (IAA) begins in frankfurt.
The auto industry is under pressure. The socio-political environment has changed, noted bernhard mattes, president of the german association of the automotive industry (VDA), recently. Demonstrators want to protest in frankfurt against climate damage caused by driving a car.
Fines loom over excessive carbon dioxide levels. By 2030, the industry wants to put 7 to 10.5 million e-cars on the roads in germany in order to comply with the limits. But behind shiny new electric cars in the front row, heavy suvs and sports cars with combustion engines will once again be seen in frankfurt.
Suvs are particularly popular with customers: in august, they were the strongest segment in the registration statistics for the first time, according to the federal motor transport authority on wednesday. With a market share of a good 22 percent, they displaced the previously leading compact cars in the golf class. In addition, ten percent of the cars used are conventional land vehicles – so the germans are buying more and more coarse and heavy cars.
E-car sales are rising, but still at a low level. According to official figures, in the first half of 2019, not even one in 50 newly registered cars drove exclusively on batteries. In every 18. New cars with an electric motor to support the burner.
There is a lack of charging points, argue the manufacturers. Nationwide there are about 20.650 public and semi-public charging points, as paid by the federal association of energy and water industries (BDEW). One million needed, says the VDA.
In addition, long delivery times are slowing down e-car sales, according to the VCD. Those who buy a pure battery car can get a subsidy of 4000 euros, for hybrid cars it is 3000 euros. Nevertheless, e-cars will remain significantly more expensive to buy in the coming years, the VCD is certain. At 1.30 euros per kilometer, running costs were only slightly lower than for a gasoline-powered car (1.60 euros), not to mention diesel. On the other hand, there is no vehicle tax and lower maintenance and repair costs.
"So far, electric cars have paid off quickly, especially if they have a small battery, use little electricity, are driven often, and if you can use a convenient charging station," concludes the VCD – for commuters, for example, who drive 50 to 70 kilometers a day and can charge at home or at work.
E-cars are also slow to shed their "ecological rucksack". "Battery production requires large amounts of energy and raw materials, such as cobalt from the congo or lithium from bolivia," the environment list authors admit. "Emissions also occur during the production of the charging current."
In urban traffic, the e-car is the most efficient after 40.000 kilometers the least climate-damaging variant, on the autobahn only after 140.000 kilometers, according to a study by the heidelberg institute for environment and energy. Prerequisite: the share of eco-electricity in the grid increases as planned.
"It’s not just car manufacturers and politicians who have a duty, but each and every one of us," adds VCD spokesman muller-gornert. People had to walk more to fub, ride bikes, use buses and trains. Emission-free cars are only a supplement.