Is This the End of Electric Cars?

Was it just a lot of fuss that is coming to naught? Automologist MAC brings us the latest details. 

Greenpeace activists protest the decision outside Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate.

Germany and the European Union have reportedly reached a deal that will allow the production and registration of Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) after the planned phasing out of them by 2035. The provision, or what a lot of critics are calling a loophole, will allow for the manufacturing, sale, and registration of vehicles after what was supposed to be the death of new ICE vehicles.

The EU and Germany, which is Europe’s largest economy, had been arguing over the planned phasing out of CO2-emitting cars. Germany has more than 850,000 jobs manufacturing cars and whilst the manufacturers there had been racing to keep up with EV development, it has become clear that there has been a shift in the balance of automaking power towards the east and particularly China.

Due to pressure from a number of manufacturers who have invested heavily in developing new e-fuels, cars manufactured to run solely on e-fuels and that only ever fill up with e-fuel will be allowed after the ban comes into effect, according to a Tweet by the German Minister of Transport, Voker Wissing.

E-fuels are made by separating hydrogen from water and then adding purified Carbon Dioxide; throw in a bit of Fischer-Tropsch synthesising and, hey presto, you have gasoline. It is not exactly carbon-neutral but it can work in a relatively low carbon mode if the massive amounts of electricity required are produced by renewable sources. The hemp-trouser-wearing Greens don’t think so and are calling the agreement “a stinky compromise”.

The question is how would you guarantee that e-fuel cars only run on e-fuel? Most probably the EU will create a new car category where they can be manufactured if there is a sensor that would stop the car starting if fuelled with fossil fuel and not e-fuel. This last minute reprieve for the ICE was backed by Italy, Poland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, along with a number of car and oil companies, allegedly.

I am all for the loophole and not because I am not a fan of EVs, but because it seems to me that common sense is prevailing and people are now refusing to be steam-rolled by the EV lobby. Electrification of personal transportation is a part of the future for all of us, but current battery technology is not good enough and insufficient electric-generating capacity in most countries will stop it becoming a reality. Currently, for most of the world, driving an EV is just moving the point of pollution as hydrocarbons are still favoured in most countries’ worldwide electricity production. Heck, China is building some 60GW of new coal-fired plants as I type.

Is this the end of the Electric Car? Probably not.

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