Although the EU will ban all new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2035, manufacturers such as Toyota see a future for combustion engines around the world. The new VW boss, Blume, is also correcting the purely electric course of his predecessor at crucial points.

Upheaval at Volkswagen: The new VW boss Oliver Blume has put many of his predecessor’s projects on hold or changed them. The new electric car platform “Trinity” will be completely remodeled. “The previous design drafts of a flat Tesla hunter have now been stamped out without a murmur: too good, not innovative enough, too confusable,” reports the “Automobilwoche”.

Compared to Hyundai, Kia and Tesla, there is a lot of catching up to do, especially in terms of performance, range and charging time, “to which we want to react with new batteries, more powerful motors, optimized power electronics and a bolder voltage level,” the trade journal continues.

The new electric models will now probably come in the SUV dress that is in demand worldwide. However, the problems with the software architecture are more difficult to solve than the design. The group has a lot of catching up to do here; some models like the electric Porsche Macan have already been postponed due to problems with new software modules and infotainment systems.

In order to stand up to Tesla, but also to newcomers like Nio or Polestar, VW not only wants to add more power – with active help from Porsche’s electrical department. Insiders report that the recently introduced abbreviation GTX could also disappear. The rather unfortunate chosen signet, which was actually awarded in the late 1960s for American muscle cars from the Chrysler brand Plymouth, is to be replaced by well-known VW lines such as the GTI and R. The signet ID may even disappear completely, so that the next generation of Volkswagen’s compact electric vehicles could be called “Golf” again.

What is more remarkable than the large-scale cleaning on the many construction sites of the replaced VW boss Herbert Diess is that his successor Oliver Blume no longer wants to rely solely on battery operation. “Our strategy is to leave the combustion engines on the market for the time being because they are very popular in many regions of the world. At the same time, we are increasing interest in and sales of the all-electric models,” said Blume in an interview with “Auto Motor

In contrast to Diess, Blume has always been a fan of e-fuels, i.e. new climate fuels that improve the CO2 balance of combustion engines. The millions of cars that are already on the road would benefit most from e-fuels. “Gasoline engines can be operated with them with almost no CO2 emissions. In this way, all vehicles can do their part to reduce CO2 – regardless of the type of drive. In addition, as a hydrogen derivative, e-fuels can be excellently mixed with fossil fuels. And every percent added is a contribution to climate protection,” said Blume to “Auto Motor

Blume has fewer volume models in mind, but initially rather the sports cars from Porsche. In addition, nothing should change in the European model portfolio due to the EU ban on combustion engines from 2035; However, Blume has the global markets in focus. The car CEO is not alone here when it comes to doubts about the feasibility of a purely electric strategy.

Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares had already emphasized with brands such as Peugeot, Fiat, Opel, Jeep and Chrysler that e-mobility was primarily being pushed politically and that the hopes placed in it for a real reduction in emissions would not be fulfilled. Toyota is not currently planning to do without its successful hybrid drives in all world markets.

Even within the EU, there are increasing doubts as to whether the targeted radical end to combustion engines is really realistic. The biggest defender of the “electric-only” course is the EU Commission Vice President and Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans. According to information from FOCUS online, Timmermans has confirmed in background talks with managers from major car manufacturers that he wants to bury the combustion engine as early as possible – ideally as early as 2026 through appropriate emissions regulations that make the approval of new gasoline engines virtually impossible.

EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton advises more caution. In an interview in 2022, he warned that the switch to pure electric mobility would destroy more than 600,000 jobs. In addition, Europe is extremely dependent on raw materials from Asia, especially China. As early as 2030, well before the planned ban, 15 times the amount of lithium, four times the amount of cobalt and graphite and three times the amount of nickel will be needed – “an enormous consumption of raw materials”, according to the Frenchman.

In addition, you need 20 to 25 percent more electricity, but its production with gas or coal makes no sense from a climate point of view.

Even if the electricity is generated cleanly, electric cars are involved in emissions – due to the increased particle emissions from tires and brakes, according to Breton. In Germany, too, one of the most active drivers behind the ban on combustion engines, the CO2 balance of electric cars will deteriorate for the time being: in spring 2023, the traffic light government will shut down all nuclear power plants that supply low-CO2 green electricity and have to because of this the reduced gas deliveries from Russia are therefore back to relying more heavily on coal-fired power generation.

The purchase of an e-car is still subsidized in Germany with tax money, but the purchase premiums have been reduced for the new year. Plug-in hybrids no longer receive any funding. However, the tax advantages remain, for example in the case of company car taxation. According to data from the Federal Motor Transport Authority, from January to November 2022, 28 percent of all cars newly registered in Germany were either electric cars or plug-in hybrids. Almost 15.7 percent of all new cars were battery-only, an increase of 22.7 percent compared to 2021.

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