Car manufacturers are demanding a clear strategy from the federal government

Car manufacturers are demanding a clear strategy from the federal government

Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf The annoyance of the German car manufacturer consists of four letters and a number: Euro 7. The European Commission wants to tighten the emission standard – even though from 2035 it will only allow vehicles that no longer emit carbon dioxide. But it doesn’t help: The days of the internal combustion engine are numbered. The industry needs to rethink – and invest.

Industry representatives had already complained in advance that the EU proposal aims to significantly reduce engine emissions in extreme situations, such as when starting off on a hill. That is expensive and hardly helps to reduce emissions. As an alternative, the government should rather work to reduce the exhaust gas values ​​​​in normal operation again.

However, the so-called “top-level discussion of the strategy platform transformation of the automotive and mobility industry” was not just about politically sensitive issues such as the emissions standard or synthetic fuels, so-called e-fuels.

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Other topics that are important to the industry were also discussed at the summit, such as the development of a necessary raw materials and data strategy.

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With the eco-gasoline, the e-fuel, received VW-Boss Oliver Blume backing of Mercedes Benz-Boss Ola Källenius. Blume is promoting e-fuels in existing vehicles so that the internal combustion engine still has a chance. In the existing fleet, e-fuels are a “solution” to reduce CO2 emissions, according to Mercedes circles.

For new cars, on the other hand, battery-electric drives are the most sensible and fastest way to decarbonize due to their high efficiency. In this respect, the focus must be on expanding the charging infrastructure.

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Mercedes recently announced, after years of hesitation, similar to Tesla to push ahead with the development of our own network of fast charging stations in North America and Europe with partners. The Swabians hope that politicians will follow suit and, for example, oblige the housing industry to install charging infrastructure in new buildings.

In addition to the industry, the IG Metal and works councils as well as representatives of the think tank Agora Verkehrswende Tesla and the environmental association BUND took part, as the Handelsblatt learned.

Mobility Summit in the Chancellery

Oliver Blume on his way to Chancellor Olaf Scholz: The VW boss had concerns and demands from the industry in his luggage.

(Photo: dpa)

The manufacturers there also called for a raw materials strategy to cover the need for lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese or graphite for batteries as future drives in Europe. So far, “little or nothing” has happened, an industry representative told the Handelsblatt. There were similar voices at Mercedes-Benz. The President of the Association of the Automotive Industry, Hildegard Müller, had loudly called for “an active raw materials strategy” because demand would increase many times over.

Most recently, the federal government presented its second raw materials strategy in 2020. However, it was not about the state securing raw materials itself, as is the case in China, for example. In the past, for example, participation in mines failed because there were no German companies that wanted to maintain and exploit raw material deposits. This is about to change.

Automotive industry: Raw materials should come from “politically stable” countries

at Volkswagen It was said that the group would basically welcome it if the government got more involved. The car manufacturers are calling for a “strategic raw materials policy”, ideally at European level. China dominates the access and processing of strategically important raw materials, so the EU must counteract this with raw material agreements – even if China remains important.

The industry is looking to Africa, which is rich in raw materials, for example, and is promoting the direct processing of raw materials there. Canada, Australia, India and Indonesia are also considered “attractive partners” and “politically stable”.

At the summit meeting, the chairmen of the “Transformation of the Automotive Industry” (ETA) expert group at the Ministry of Economic Affairs presented initial proposals. As it was said, the circle recommends that German companies at the beginning of the automotive value chain could consider “securing their raw materials through direct participation and investments”.

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The head of the working group in the group of experts, Jenskatzek, said when asked that the industry had done its homework. Now it is up to the government to create a new raw material base in addition to a secure energy supply at competitive prices. “Our transformation is based on a number of raw materials that we have to import,” said Katzenk, Managing Director of the Automotive Cluster Ostdeutschland. “The decisive factor here is to have diverse global sources of supply that cover the increasing demand in a crisis-proof manner.”

Car manufacturers rely on data business: customers should “be able to decide about their data”

The chairpersons Monika Schnitzer, chairperson of the Advisory Council and economic researcher at the University of Munich, and Ina Schaefer, vehicle computer scientist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, also presented recommendations for networked driving. The group of experts calls for a strategy with which data can be generated extensively and implemented in business models. The basis is that customers “can make sovereign decisions about their data and at the same time are shown clearly recognizable individual or collective added value,” as the paper says. It is available from the Handelsblatt.

The legislature should determine when the data release is requested. If customers release data, this should “take place at the data source”. Only then can it be transparently understood where the data is going. “Accordingly, binding standards should be established as to how data transparency can be brought about in the vehicle and what prerequisites must be met for this.”

At the same time, the district demands that investments in the data economy pay off, for example to enable connected driving or to increase data availability via “central architectures in vehicles”. To do this, they demand that prices be set according to added value and that investments in software be protected by exploitation rights.

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