The EU rejects calls for EV quotas, dismissing previous speculation
08 August 2017
Reuters reports that Germany’s deputy economy minister Matthias Machnig said on Monday (7 August) that Germany ‘should consider introducing binding quotas for electric cars for an automobile sector seeking to recover from a diesel emissions scandal and keep its place as a leading producer.’ However, contrary to previous reports, the European Union has stated it has no plans to introduce quotas for electric vehicles (EVs) similar to those planned in China, much to the dismay of international carmakers.
‘We want Germany to remain the top car country in the future,’ Machnig told Reuters, adding that issues like digitalization and new engine technologies would decide who stays at the top of the game. ‘That's why we should talk about a binding target to really get electro-mobility going in Europe and also in Germany.’ said Machnig, a member of Germany’s SPD Social Democrats Party, which is a junior coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party.
According to the Reuters article, ‘Machnig was reacting to a report in German newspaper Handelsblatt that cited European Union sources as saying the European Commission wanted to accelerate the retreat from combustion engines by setting a quota for low emission cars such as electric cars from 2025. He added that the whole automobile industry faced a major upheaval that it would cope with using innovation.’
The Handelsblatt article on 6 August reported that ‘the EU Commission is considering the introduction of a binding quota for electric cars from 2025’ and that sources believed a minimum sales level alongside stricter limits for CO2 emissions were already part of measures to promote climate-friendly mobility that the Commission wants to present by the end of the year.
However, according to Reuters, ‘the European Union said on Monday that it had no plans to introduce quotas for electric cars for an automobile sector seeking to recover from the Volkswagen diesel scandal.’ ‘Generally speaking, the Commission is looking into ways to promote use of low carbon energy and transport but none of them includes quotas for electric cars,’ a spokeswoman for the EU executive said. ‘We do not discriminate between different technologies,’ she added. Essentially, these goals should not be misconstrued as plans for binding quotas.
Automobilwoche reported, also on Monday, that: ‘The starting point for the reporting is a passage from an EU Commission paper from the end of May. The authority is already working on a reform of the standards for the CO2 emissions of passenger cars which will be applicable after 2020/2021. In connection with this, the paper states that ‘the options also include specific targets for low-emission and emission-free vehicles.’ The current targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for cars are valid until the year 2021.’ The point is that these targets are still in place but there are not any binding EV sales quotas to be met.
A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Transport said on Monday in Berlin that there was no proposal for a quota from Brussels and so they could not take a position on it. ‘We are pleading here for openness to technology,’ he said. Although EVs will play a crucial role, the spokesman commented that ‘It is not yet clear whether they are the only future.’
The German car companies have consistently opposed the introduction of EV sales quotas and as Automobilwoche rightfully points out, ‘the sale of electric cars depends on factors that the companies alone cannot influence.’