There have been a number of reports that Germany will ban the internal combustion engine (ICE) by the year 2030, i.e. in just 14 years. This has been already voted on by Germany’s Federal Council (Bundesrat).
Although 14 years can be plenty of time to usher in a technical revolution (e.g. think of how much technology changed from 1976 to 1990), it will not be anywhere enough time for Germany to overcome the huge technical and financial obstacles it faces in achieving the lofty target.
Already today leading German media outlets are dumping cold water on the news. For example online flagship national daily Die Welt comments here that the aim is nothing but a “fairy tale”, writing:
The discussed ban of cars with internal combustion engines by 2030 will not come. CSU politicians Seehofer and Dolbrindt are going to see to that.”
Even Germany’s leading Green Party politician Winfried Kretschmann, Minister of the state of Baden Württemberg, home to auto giant Daimler Benz, is opposed to a specific deadline. Die Welt writes that a number of leading politicians are not in favor of any deadline for abolishing ICEs, meaning there is no consensus to drive the ambitious project.
Another obstacle is the EU government in Brussels, which is responsible for regulating automobiles in Europe, thus making a go-it-alone by a single country impossible.
A further obstacle is the total lack of infrastructure for electric cars. According to Stefan Bratzel, Chief of the Center of Automotive Management (CAM):
We first need the necessary infrastructure, the charging stations, and enough power plants to supply clean electricity before cars with internal combustion engines can be replaced. That is not possible by 2030.”
Moreover, these “clean energy power plants” have been facing increasingly fierce opposition lately, as Germany’s landscapes have been spoiled by wind parks and consumers are angered by skyrocketing electricity prices, and industry concerned about an unstable power grid and the prospects of blackouts. It’s a fact that the installation of new wind energy capacity in Germany fell by almost 20% in 2015, from the high set in 2014.
In the ICE ban scheme, the state would not allow the registration of automobiles with internal combustion engines by 2030. The Bundesrat insists that the 2030 deadline is necessary if the country ever hopes to meet the target of a CO2-emissions-free transportation sector by the year 2050.
Minister of Transport: “utter nonsense”
Also Forbes Magazine here quoted Germany’s Minister of Transport, Alexander Dolbrindt, who called the German initiative “utter nonsense”. Forbes comments:
The ICE ban remains a dream of the more rabid among the proponents of all-electric transportation.”