06. March 2018
Court ruling on driving bans for diesel-engine cars was a hot topic at the International Motor Congress in Baden-Baden. Unexpected turn: German Environmental Aid promises help to the internal combustion engine community in front of a live audience. New agreement on cooperation concluded.
"CITIES CAN ISSUE DRIVING BANS ON DIESEL CARS IN FUTURE"; THE JUDGMENT OF THE FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT CAME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERNATIONAL MOTOR CONGRESS IN BADEN-BADEN.
The internal combustion engine community eagerly awaited Jürgen Resch of the Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German Environmental Aid) at the event. He had initiated the case going before the Leipzig administrative court, and joined the panel through live-feed in the discussion on the topic "Getting rid of the internal combustion engine!?", appearing in front of about 500 participants. Completely unexpected: Instead of confrontation, cooperation will come about in the future. The traffic expert of the CDU, MdB Carsten Müller as a representative of politics and other experts from science and the automotive industry, agreed with Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German Environmental Aid) on a short-term cooperation.
"We have to objectify a hitherto completely disconnected, ideological discussion. Society, politics and experts often speak on very different levels, but not with each other", states Prof. Dr. med. Christian Beidl from the TU Darmstadt in the so-called "WKM position paper" of the Scientific Society for Motor Vehicle and Engine Technology e.V., which was the basis of the discussion. In particular, the scientists, developers, and engineers criticize the previously conducted discussion, from which they were excluded. "A courtroom is the wrong place to have a discussion. Lawyers should not decide what the future looks like, rather scientists," says Wolfgang Maus from WM Engineering & Consulting GmbH. The researchers and developers have a solution: synthetic fuels.
Synthetic fuels offer potential solution
The experts on the podium were convinced that combustion engines with synthetic fuels can be operated CO₂-neutral. These, such as Power-to-liquid (PTL) fuels, have high energy density, zero emissions, and can significantly contribute to ensuring the familiar long-range and performance capabilities of vehicles. In addition, this solution makes economic sense, because it ensures mobility at far lower overall costs than, for example, e-mobility, as reported at the Congress of Engineers and Economists. It becomes more obvious when apparent CO2 benefits of e-mobility are revealed: the battery vehicle is rated from the socket to the wheel, the combustion engine from the oil source to the wheel. In other words, the CO2 emissions of the Electricity generation is suppressed.
Resch also sees an important alternative in synthetic fuels. However, he said that they are still under development and therefore not a solution at the present time. Nevertheless, the focus should be on this. That's exactly what the engineers and developers have committed themselves to. In the future, they want to be involved in the discussion. It makes no technical or economic sense to abolish the combustion engine prematurely. The potential is far from exhausted.
"Politics and society tend to make either-or-decisions; in this case either a combustion engine or an electric motor. And that does not make much sense right now," Resch admits. At the same time, the approving member of the German Parliament, Carsten Müller, asked the representatives of the industry present to make politics more comprehensible. He promised that the future federal government would take on the topic.
Prohibitions hinder further development
The position paper by leading scientists from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, presented by Beidl, makes a clear statement: "A technology-oriented further development of propulsion systems is a prerequisite for a successful climate policy in a prospering society. Prohibitions cause the opposite!". Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner from Volkswagen as well as Rudolf Ellensohn from Liebherr Machines Bulle, and Dr. Ing. Otmar Scharrer from MAHLE International join in and welcome the offers from consumer protection and politics.
Wolfgang Maus concludes with the point: "We take Jürgen Resch at his word and will come together to find a solution. We have convincing physico-technical solutions that should be heard and made known to all people. Only in this way can the until now completely unobjective and ideologized discussion in politics and society be ended. Today we start a new discussion, a real, factually sound - prohibitions are superfluous ".