What have they complained about, the car bosses. But a lot has been asked of them in recent years: they have to build clean cars as quickly as possible, with which they can initially earn less money. At the same time, they have to invest millions in new technology and retrain or even lay off employees. And then there was the corona pandemic, during which no cars were built, let alone bought. Sometimes it seemed like the German auto industry had no future. The car would become obsolete; instead, everyone would use the train, the bicycle and soon also the robotaxi. But none of this will happen anytime soon. Maybe never.
With the best will in the world, the current numbers leave no reason to complain: Daimler, VW, BMW, Tesla – they all recently had record sales or even record profits. It was no surprise that more vehicles were sold in the first half of 2021 after the bad Corona 2020 year. But the numbers for some companies are better than before the pandemic. And this despite the lack of computer chips, which meanwhile all manufacturers produce fewer cars than what is actually demanded. The trend clearly shows that there will be no hijacking of the car for the foreseeable future.
As little as abandoning the SUV, which now represents more than one in three new car purchases. At least, the stigma of the best climate killer can be shaken a bit by urban SUVs if they are increasingly bought as electric cars. This does not solve the problem of space, let alone find an answer to the question of how long the business model of “individual mobility” will continue to be as profitable for automakers as it is now. . But even though there is a lot of talk about robotic taxis, which will be driving some cities this decade, many people will still have their own cars.
At least most automakers have now figured out that the only way to get climate neutral vehicles is to turn away from the internal combustion engine. The fact that more and more companies are making precise announcements as to when the latest combustion platform expires or even from what year they will only sell new electric vehicles is an important signal, even if it is of course driven by regulatory authorities around the world. You could also say that automakers in most countries will soon have no choice anyway.
It is all the more irritating that there are still voices in the industry who certify a great future for hydrogen or electric fuels in cars and claim that it is an act of political arbitrariness to declare such technologies unsuitable for the future. It is a fact that compared to electric drives, they are inefficient and uneconomical – both for businesses and for customers.
As Germany’s last premium automaker, BMW sticks to building fuel cell cars. Interestingly, according to the CEO of Zipse, these should lead where there is no infrastructure for electromobility. What parts of the world it should be in, where you can’t create charging facilities, but where you can build much more expensive hydrogen gas stations, it’s still his secret until now.
In the city, many charging stations are almost always occupied
Apart from that, car managers are right when they call all the more categorically for the expansion of the charging infrastructure to be accelerated. While there is still great potential in rural areas to charge electric cars with electricity from their own roof in the garage, the situation in metropolitan areas is becoming increasingly difficult. Although only a small proportion of cars in cities have been electric so far, many charging stations are almost always busy there. Many companies do not yet offer their employees the option of recharging their vehicles while they are working. There must now be binding directives so that drivers who do not have a wallbox at home can switch to electric.