The pressure on the auto industry to abandon vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines continues to increase.
Even Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) no longer sees a long-term future for classic gasoline and diesel engines.
"The fossil combustion engine that is powered by gasoline or diesel must be given an end date," the minister demands in an interview with WELT AM SONNTAG.
But that is not the end of the combustion engine.
"In order to lead the combustion engine technology, which is highly developed in Germany, into the future, the synthetic fuels have to get out of the test tube and into mass production," says Scheuer.
At the moment, the artificial fuels that are obtained through the use of renewable energy and thus have a better carbon footprint or can even be burned completely CO2-neutrally, are still so expensive that they have no price chance against conventional gasoline or diesel.
However, Scheuer believes that this can be changed within a few years - even with pressure from the legislature.
"We have to remain open to technology and at the same time continue to impose strict climate protection requirements so that there are incentives to use the next 15 years to develop competitive, clean fuels for combustion engines," said the Minister of Transport.
"Our goal must be the phasing out of fossil fuels by 2035."
Source: WORLD infographic
At least car traffic would then have to be climate-neutral in just a few years.
At the same time, however, Scheuer wants to prevent the EU Commission from forcing the change even earlier with stricter requirements.
While the transport minister specifies a period of 15 years for the switch, the EU Commission wants to pass limit values for a new Euro 7 emissions standard this year.
The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) fears that combustion engines will be "de facto banned" as early as 2025, because the new requirements would not be technically feasible.
Scheuer promises to support the industry in the discussion with Brussels.
“The Ministry of Transport will take a very negative position in the Euro 7 debate,” he announced.
When it comes to regulation, one should “not be constantly zigzagging”.
“We should concentrate on the existing emissions regulations and not have a debate about even stricter requirements,” demands Scheuer.
“As a politician, you should also talk to engine developers.
We are not allowed to make political decisions that are technically not feasible. "
Instead, the Ministry of Transport is relying on additional subsidies to promote electromobility.
In addition to the ongoing environmental bonus for the purchase of electric cars, the charging infrastructure is to be promoted even more.
"Of course, I'm not yet satisfied with the around 40,000 public charging points that already exist," says Scheuer.
It is important that the demand is also met in the face of record registrations of new electric vehicles.
"For a long time ten e-cars were able to use one charging point, but now the number of vehicles is increasing faster than the number of charging stations," said the minister.
“With the new funding program 'On-site charging infrastructure', we will bring charging options even more to where the cars are.” The federal government is making 300 million euros available for this, “which mayors or retailers can apply for by the end of the year To install charging stations in front of swimming pools, at sports fields, supermarkets, restaurants or other places, ”explains Scheuer.
"The money is given out on a first-come-first-served basis, which shows that we want to set the pace."
But not a million public charging options?
The number of publicly accessible charging stations is currently increasing too slowly to be able to achieve the government's target of one million charging points by 2030.
A good 1,000 new charging options are added every month, but in order to be able to reach the million dollar target in the next ten years, there would have to be 8,000 charging points per month.
The Minister of Transport is therefore moving away from the goal that the government had written in the climate program and in the “Master Plan for Charging Infrastructure”.
"A fixed number like the goal of one million charging points by 2030 will not get us any further, the need is decisive," said Scheuer.
"There is also technological progress in the charging stations: We can now charge faster and more intelligently than we were a few years ago." The National Control Center for Charging Infrastructure, which is supposed to coordinate the development of the charging network, will analyze the demand.
However, Scheuer makes it clear that the new target should not be too low either.
The Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) recently pointed out several scenarios, according to which, in the best case, 180,000 charging points could be sufficient, especially when charging at home and at fast charging stations.
That would be less than a fifth of the original target.
"200,000 public charging points by 2030, as some suggest, are definitely not enough for me," explains Scheuer.
"But there is a wide range between 200,000 and a million."
Up to 700,000 subsidized private wallboxes
The Ministry of Transport hopes that the promotion of private charging stations - so-called wall boxes - will lead to fewer public pillars being needed.
Within a few months, applications for 300,000 private wallboxes were received, and more than 2500 are added every day.
Since the state pays 900 euros for each of the charging stations, the budget had to be increased to 400 million euros.
"If this continues, the 400 million euros will soon be exhausted," says Scheuer.
Mathematically, it could be so far at the end of April that he is therefore in talks with Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD).
"I would like to see that we can finance 500,000 private charging stations with this program - if the finance minister likes to go along with 700,000."
Scheuer also wants to finally push ahead with the regulation of the charging infrastructure more quickly.
The minister now wants to adopt the new charging station ordinance, which should actually have been in place a long time ago, by the summer.
“We have to finally lay the foundations this year so that charging works as easily as refueling,” says Scheuer.
At the moment there are still many different cards and apps that must be used to pay at thousands of different providers.
"I'm in talks with the Minister of Economic Affairs to achieve a uniform payment system that ideally combines mobile and digital," he says.
Owners of electric cars should also be able to charge reliably at home, says Scheuer.
The lobbyists of the auto and energy industries are currently wrestling with the question of whether the network operators are legally given the option to temporarily cut electricity from electric cars if there is otherwise a threat of network overload.
“We have to enable mobility, not prevent it,” says Scheuer.
“That is why the power grids have to be expanded in such a way that it is possible to charge your own electric car at any time.” He is not a fan of so-called peak smoothing.
"It would be the wrong message if network operators could prescribe forced charging breaks for electric car owners."
Altmaier and Scheuer report on progress with the charging stations
After the top meeting on the subject of charging stations for e-cars, Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier and Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer comment on the expansion of the infrastructure.
See their joint press conference here.