Planned combustion engine off: Audi boss warns of “hanging game”

Combustion engines will no longer be permitted in the EU from 2035. However, resistance is forming in Italy and Germany. The EU is now receiving support for the ambitious plans from the car industry of all people.

From 2035, cars with internal combustion engines will no longer be allowed in the EU. At least that’s the plan on which almost everyone has agreed so far and whose resolution was actually only considered a formality. But within the EU, resistance to the ambitious agenda is growing at the last second. In addition to Italy, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is now threatening with a veto. In the newly sparked debate, Audi boss Markus Duesmann of all people has now warned against turning away from the planned combustion engine exit. “In the political discussion, we see the risk that the EU’s clear decision to phase out combustion engines in 2035 will be called into question again,” Duesmann criticized in an interview with the Mirror.

“That carries the risk of a stalemate, and that would be fatal for the auto industry.”

Slump in sales of electric cars in Germany forecast

Slump in sales of electric cars in Germany forecast

The Audi boss emphasized the need for planning security for the automotive industry and its billion-dollar investments. Duesmann is taking a different position from Wissing, who is calling for an exception for combustion engines that can be fueled with e-fuels, i.e. synthetic fuel generated with green electricity. According to Duesmann, however, such an exception is not necessary, since synthetic fuels will not play a major role in the passenger car segment in the medium term anyway. “Audi has made a clear decision: We will phase out the combustion engine in 2033 because the battery-electric vehicle is the most efficient method for individual mobility.”

The technology for producing eFuels, on the other hand, is considered inefficient and expensive. In addition, according to a survey by the ADAC, the efficiency of eFuels is only around 15 percent – that of electric cars is around 70 to 80 percent. The energy balance of electricity-based fuels is therefore significantly worse than electricity itself. According to Duesmann, in the long term they would only be considered for forms of mobility in which energy cannot be stored in any other way: “Aircraft will be dependent on e-fuels or the existing fleet, i.e. cars who are already on the road,” he explained.

The Audi boss himself also advocates stricter CO₂ targets. However, Duesmann rejects bans, such as those often demanded by the Greens. “We don’t have to solve the problems of this world by doing without, but by technology.” That’s why his group is mainly working on technologies “that will take us away from fossil raw materials”. The war in Ukraine shows more than ever “how important it is that we turn our backs on fossil fuels,” Duesmann said shortly after the start of the Ukraine war:

“Now it’s no longer just about climate protection, but also about stability and peacekeeping.”

More on the subject – Study: Electric cars currently produce more CO₂ than diesel vehicles

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