Mr. Hartung, you run the world's largest automotive supplier.

What do you think of the decision by the Council of Ministers to ban combustion engines in the EU in 2035?

Sven Astheimer

Responsible editor for corporate reporting.

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Gustave parts

Business correspondent in Stuttgart.

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We can support the goal of reducing CO2 emissions from new vehicles by 55 percent by 2030 and by 100 percent by 2035.

But two aspects are important for the decision: The binding technology decision for the year 2035 restricts the scope for innovations too much.

You make assumptions over a period of 13 years without knowing the range of possible innovations.

We are therefore fundamentally in favor of an approach that is open to all technologies and welcome an opening clause, such as the one that the EU environment ministers have now found for e-fuels.

In any case, there will still be cars with internal combustion engines around the world, and they can also make a contribution to climate protection.

2035 is not far away for the auto industry.

Europe should remain innovative during this period.

And the second aspect?

In 2035, the majority of cars will still be powered by combustion engines.

How does this fleet become at least partially CO2-neutral without having to replace it completely?

We have 1.4 billion vehicles on the road worldwide, but currently only build around 80 million a year.

According to this, it will take 25 years until we have replaced all vehicles.

That's why I think the proposed opt-out clause for CO2-neutral fuels is right, since there are already vehicles that are e-fuel-capable.

Many assumptions that we made 2 or 3 years ago are no longer valid today.

And that will also be the case in 13 years.

What assumptions do you mean?

Take the comparison between gas and hydrogen.

We have always said that green hydrogen is too expensive and not sufficiently available.

That will change given the accelerated shift in our energy mix in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

What problems can there be with electric cars?

I don't question that battery-electric drives are the most efficient solution for cars for the foreseeable future.

But there will be limitations.

The growing number of required charging stations overloads the existing network.

Incidentally, the same applies to heat pumps – we cannot install this technology in every house.

To do this, we would have to completely replace the power grid in the streets.

13 years is nothing for a comprehensive renewal of the infrastructure.

Are you disappointed in the federal government that these connections are not recognized?

So far, the federal government is doing a really good job in extremely difficult times.

The government has tackled the issue of energy security quickly and consistently, without ideological barriers.

That surprised me positively.

I also found the way the government communicated with business and science and asked what to do to be extremely professional and encouraging.

I was also impressed by how a federal minister provided comprehensive information almost around the clock in the media.

I don't take this effort for granted.

You will not hear any critical words from me about the federal government.

What conclusions do you draw from the energy situation?

Have you reduced your natural gas consumption?