German law or rather its subjects can be strange at times. The Higher Regional Court of Braunschweig had to decide that an individual citizen cannot rule how a car manufacturer builds electric cars. You didn’t think you could try it in the first place? Neither did we.
The applicant, however, filed a temporary injunction to prohibit Volkswagen to build battery-electric cars. In his opinion, battery production poses a major threat to the climate and health; instead, he proposed the vehicle should use energy coming from “hydrogen-powered generators”.
The Courts in Braunschweig rejected his application on two accounts. The applicant’s appeal was inadmissible because he had lodged it without a lawyer and was not entitled to legal aid either.
The Court further beheld any ruling on whether his technical and political statements were correct. In any event, he could not, through a measure of civil procedure, determine whether battery-operated electric vehicles could generally be built and sold or not, the judges said. If he could, a ruling would ultimately affect all car manufacturers – and that would become a case for the legislature.
This “case” is hard to take seriously. However, change through court rulings is, of course, nothing new and can be quite successful. Tens of thousands of German diesel drivers, for example, can now finally get compensation from Volkswagen. In its first ruling on the VW exhaust scandal, the Federal High Court (BGH) in Karlsruhe found on Monday that plaintiff buyers can return their cars and claim the money back. However, the kilometres driven will be deducted from the purchase price.
Also, Tesla has lost its case brought by a German advertising watchdog only this week. The court ruled in favour of the Wettbewerbszentrale’s claim that Tesla had made misleading statements to advertise the ‘Autopilot’. Tesla may now have to act soon.