D.he car has been a friend of man for more than a hundred years. It shrinks distances, gives freedom, gives individual mobility and brings prosperity. In Germany in particular, it is a substantial part of society and an economy that builds on industrial pillars and will hopefully continue to build in the future.
Its acquisition is not like any other. There are discussions about it, in families, among friends. Anyone who sees the car not only as a means of transport, but also chooses one with character, experiences a feast for the senses. Three million passenger cars are fresh on Germany’s roads every year, and around a million jobs depend on the industry in this country. No wonder there are almost as many professionals as there are residents. As in football, everyone has a say. Right now it seems as if the opponents are gaining the upper hand.
Wrongly. Thanks to well-trained engineers, the car has become safer, more comfortable, more efficient and cleaner. The German brands are in demand all over the world. The call is no coincidence. And yet it is no guarantee of a brilliant future. As if out of nowhere, the American manufacturer Tesla has become a provider on an equal footing. Younger buyers in particular, right up to a youth who can no longer use the term auto quartet, admire the pioneering work of Elon Musk, who is driving the establishment with his electric cars. He does this so successfully because he does not offer rolling waivers, but rather emotional, high-performance products. The people honor the push into border areas.
At the same time, a new environmental awareness is moving into focus, despite the often suppressed memories of earlier apocalypses from the dying forest to the ozone hole in a possibly unprecedented intensity. The industry acts, nobody denies the influence on the climate. But opinions differ on the type and speed, society is torn.
There is no longer any technological openness
A heated debate about the internal combustion engine is the most visible side. Although a trump card in terms of CO2 emissions, diesel has been destroyed in a campaign-like manner. Now the petrol engine follows. It will exist in the world for a long time, because in regions like India, Africa or South America it will be about basic mobility for the foreseeable future. But in Europe the political turnaround has heralded. The EU Commission has just shown that it does not want to give anything other than the electric car a future. Technological openness is de facto no longer given. By 2030, most new engines in Europe will have their fires extinguished.
This is a bet on progress, because facts are created without having solutions. The electric car is only beneficial for the climate if green electricity is used in the energy-intensive production of the batteries, if it charges sustainably generated electricity during its existence. And when it is cleanly recycled at the end of its life. At least in Germany, the electricity mix is ruining the balance sheet, and the debate about additional wind turbines is just as controversial. The demand for electricity increases. Should nuclear power return?
Today, the electric car, with its local zero emissions and low noise levels, is an asset in the city, i.e. wherever opinions are loudly expressed and political decisions are made. As soon as it goes to or over land, the world looks different. Spontaneity is lost, route planning and charging stops take its place. Nobody should be blinded by the standard information on ranges and charging times, the reality is more sobering. A speed limit of 120 km / h is imposed on the autobahn because the energy supply melts faster than the driver’s blood pressure can bear. And of course the electricity doesn’t come out of the socket for nothing.
Because such hurdles frighten many people and they rate the additional benefit less, they are reluctant to spend more money, in contrast to the massively bought e-bike. The electric car is only halfway marketable with subsidies. Politicians know that they are extending the donation until Saint Never’s Day.
As if that weren’t enough breaking points, the car is also approached as such. In the city it is increasingly getting in its own way. Nobody likes parked streets, but the alternatives have always been additions, not replacements. Now streets are being narrowed everywhere, obstacles are being built up, and the idea of city tolls will soon become louder. But really viable concepts are missing, also in urban planning, where there is too often a lack of safe bike paths.
Finding a future-proof balance in all of these fields will be one of the tasks of the coming federal government. Without a doubt, even if that may sound unpopular at the moment: Germany lives better with a car than against it.