Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess has delivered a seminal speech, depending action will follow. Essentially, the head of the major carmaker asks for binding environmental agreements across the EU, including charging networks and a higher price on carbon emissions.
Among the measures Diess mentions according to the German Handelsblatt, the Volkswagen Group CEO called for “binding expansion plans for each individual member state” with a view to establishing a European charging network for electric cars.
He also called for a European phase-out plan for coal and a clear CO2 price, think carbon tax, for all sectors. A price of 100 euros per tonne of CO2 is “not outrageous,” Diess said at a New Year’s reception of the company in Brussels. However, the German government’s climate package only accounts for 25 euros per tonne from 2021. With a clear price signal, Diess said, it would be possible to persuade industry and private consumers to do more without carbon dioxide emissions.
The VW boss also criticised the high proportion of coal in power generation, especially in Germany and Eastern Europe, in view of the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Seven of the ten largest carbon dioxide emitters are in the Federal Republic of Germany, he said.
For a push to electric transport though, clean power generation is essential, because “the switch to electric mobility cannot be credibly communicated if the power supply continues to rely primarily on coal” and thus carbon dioxide pollution cannot be reduced significantly. He also sees this as a duty across the entire European Union, as the supply of electricity can no longer be “a patchwork quilt of individual nation-states”.
Said patchwork can also currently be observed in the charging infrastructure; the differences between the EU states are sometimes immense. “The Netherlands has almost 20 charging points per 100 kilometres of road, in Germany, it is less than three,” Diess said. Reaching one million charging points is a very realistic goal. At present, however, Germany is “at best” in the middle of the field. Diess did not, however, give more precise details of his vision of the binding targets for the expansion of the charging infrastructure or on what VW would be able to bring.
The company and the VW brand, in particular, has been seen to install charging stations at its production sites so far and is part of the Ionity network for high power charging. Also, according to the latest strategy update, Volkswagen now targets to sell one million electric cars by the end of 2023, two years earlier than previously planned.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.
handelsblatt.com (in German)
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