No climate protection without combustion engines!

Exciting discussions at the 11th Motoren Kongress in Baden-Baden by VDI Wissensforum GmbH and @ATZ live

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Thomas Fritsch, Chief Editor

Is the European Green Deal being put to the test with the end of the combustion engine in 2035 or are we even ignoring the needs and wishes of consumers?

The panel participants, moderators Alexander Heintzel and Christian Beidl with Holger Becker (MdB SPD), Michael Fleiss (Aurobay), Monika Griefahn (eFuel Alliance), Benjamin Krieger (CLEPA), @Takahiro Nagai (NEDO) and Markus Schwaderlapp (DEUTZ AG) agreed that the climate targets cannot be achieved against the economy. After the European elections in 2024, we will have to talk again about fleet and commercial vehicle regulations and evaluate the future of the combustion engine.

Openness to technology is not a decision for or against electromobility. Rather, it is about using every opportunity to save CO2, as Dr. Monika Griefahn impressively emphasizes. In particular, the addition of so-called eFuels for modern combustion engines should be considered here. Business, politics and research must work together to find pragmatic solutions.  In view of the slow spread of BEVs and the large number of existing vehicles worldwide, it is extremely important to increase the production of renewable fuels in order to replace fossil fuels. In terms of regulation, this means rapid implementation of the recitals on CO2 standards for cars, vans and trucks. The recognition of renewable fuels that complement electrification is necessary. Furthermore, it is important not only to focus on German or European sensitivities, but also to find holistic approaches. Europe must not become a "museum"!

It should therefore come as no surprise that the use of clean combustion engines in the sense of defossilization was at the forefront of most of the contributions. Prof. Dr. Uwe Dieter Grebe (AVL List GmbH) and Prof. Dr. Thomas Koch (KIT), who are convinced that we will still have state-of-the-art combustion engines in use globally after 2050, expressed their conviction.

The motorization of commercial vehicles is much more flexible, which is naturally due to the practical usability and the areas of application in the great outdoors, but also to the willingness to further develop and advance eFuel-powered engines, as Dr. Schwaderlapp (DEUTZ AG) and Jonathan Atkinson (Cummins Inc.) demonstrated.

It will be interesting to see how engineers and experts will stand up to the political elites in Europe and especially in Germany and how reason and pragmatism will prevail on the long road to the goal of climate neutrality, which is beyond question.

The 12th International Motor Congress will take place on 25 and 26 February 2025.


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