The head of the works council at Daimler Truck is concerned about Germany as an industrial location. He calls for a master plan for e-mobility from politicians. And from his company big investments.

The head of the works council of the commercial vehicle manufacturer Daimler Truck, Michael Brecht, is concerned about the industrial development in Germany. “I’m very worried about Germany as an industrial location,” Brecht told the German Press Agency in Stuttgart. Industrial policy in Germany and Europe is not remotely comparable to China or the USA. “It simply won’t work at this speed,” said Brecht, referring to the transformation towards e-mobility. “I see black that the appropriate infrastructure will be followed accordingly.”

Everyone talked about the need for a master plan, but to this day only individual initiatives are discussed instead of designing a large overall strategy. “We’re far too small-minded here,” said Brecht. In the next two to three years, practically all major decisions regarding zero-emission drives will have to be made. Otherwise Germany and Europe in ten years “may even be weaker industrially than before the transformation”.

If he looks at Germany’s climate targets for 2030, then a plan is already necessary today, how many charging points are needed where and what these charging points have to do. “To this day I can’t imagine how that can work.” The Ministry of Transport must make this extrapolation and say how exactly the roads in Germany are electrified.

According to Brecht, batteries will be a key issue in the transformation. “That’s why we need our own battery cell production in Germany,” demanded Brecht, referring to Daimler Truck. The establishment of such a production is of elementary importance in order to be able to offer sustainable jobs when the combustion engine is gradually replaced.

The company is discussing this and management is ready to think about it. “But there is a big difference between thinking and doing.” This is where industry will “separate the wheat from the chaff” and show whether the commercial vehicle manufacturer “has the courage to jump in”. That requires an enormous amount of money. “We are talking about an investment of between 700 and 800 million euros for our own battery cell production with fifteen gigawatt hours,” says Brecht. If a decision is not made in Germany soon, these huge investments would be made elsewhere. “Then we’ll make combustion engines here for another 20 years, but then we’ll talk about de-industrialization.”

Energy is central to the production of battery cells. “We need competitive energy prices in Germany,” said Brecht. The industry needs predictability and reliability. “The state has to intervene,” demanded Brecht. The price of electricity is becoming a decisive location factor.