VW, too, is committed to phasing out the internal combustion engine and specifies a phase-out period. Critics would have liked to see an earlier phase-out for gasoline and diesel engines.
Following in the footsteps of the Group’s subsidiary Audi, the core brand VW has now also named a concrete time frame for the final departure from the internal combustion engine. “In Europe, we are exiting the business with combustion engine vehicles between 2033 and 2035,” VW board member for sales Klaus Zellmer told the Münchner Merkur (Saturday). In the U.S. and China, he said, the exit will take place somewhat later, and in South America and Africa it will take a good bit longer. Only a few days ago, Audi had announced that it would let the last combustion engines roll off the production line in 2033 at the latest.
Further improvements to internal combustion engines
VW will continue to work on improving its combustion engines, Zellmer stressed. This also applies to the diesel. The planned tightening of the EU emissions standard (Euro 7) for diesels is a particular challenge. However, diesel drives are “still very much in demand, especially among frequent drivers,” the manager said.
The environmental protection organization Greenpeace said that anyone who, like Volkswagen, was committed to the Paris climate agreement would have to stop producing new diesels and gasoline engines as early as 2025. It was also doubtful whether European customers could still be found for “dirty combustion engines” for that long. “If VW does not want to run the risk of being stuck with slow-moving goods, the company should prepare for a much earlier departure from diesel and gasoline,” Greenpeace transport expert Tobias Austrup told dpa on Sunday.
Control via supply and demand
VW brand boss Ralf Brandstätter emphasized that 70 percent of all new Volkswagens in Europe should be purely electric by 2030. However, the path to e-mobility does not only require a date for phasing out the combustion engine. “We also need to quickly develop the charging infrastructure and advance the energy transition. As long as we still have a high proportion of coal-fired electricity, it doesn’t make sense to push for a high proportion of electric,” Brandstätter told Electrified magazine and Autogazette. “If we were to serve the entire market with electric drives today, 50 percent of the vehicles would be charged with coal-fired electricity. That would not be efficient, not even in terms of climate protection.”
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess had stressed at the presentation of the financial statements in the spring that he was relying on supply and demand management. “In some regions, internal combustion vehicles will be sold even longer than in other regions,” he explained at the time. In his view, change will come via the market and customers. Combustion engines are still necessary for the time being – also to finance the transition to an all-electric world. In addition, modern combustion engines are many times more efficient and less harmful to the environment than their predecessors from the times of the diesel crisis.