Why doesn’t Germany believe 100% in electric cars? At the risk of ruining everything

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Germany has joined Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic to oppose the ban on thermal cars from 2035. The member countries of this alliance ask that synthetic fuels or e-fuels be authorized, which would prolong the sale of cars thermal for a few more years.

BMW i4 iDrive 35 // Source: Frandroid

One of the most sensitive areas of European politics at the moment is the relationship between the Germans and their cars, which raises important questions in terms of environmental policy and energy transition. The French Minister of Transport, Clément Beaune, has expressed France’s request to Germany to lift its blockade on the European regulation that provides for the gradual abolition of the internal combustion engine by 2035.

This week, Berlin threatened to block the energy transition agenda. The German authorities, in fact, have requested that synthetic fuels or “e-fuels” be taken into account, described as having a “practically neutral” carbon footprint, which could call into question the objectives of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

800,000 jobs in Germany

The investment in synthetic fuels is intended to ensure a future for the internal combustion engine, which has been the pride of German engineering for more than a century. Switching to other technologies would risk destroying the competitive edge that Germany has built up over decades in terms of knowledge, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

Remember that the production of thermal cars in Germany represents about 800,000 jobs and a turnover of about 411,000 million euros. This economic sector is the first in Germany, represents an important part of the German economy and contributes significantly to the employment and economic growth of the country.

The CATL plant in Germany
The CATL plant in Germany

The transition to electric vehicles could lead to the destruction of current supply chains and the loss of many jobs, while exposing German automakers to stiff competition from new rivals such as China, which dominates the electric vehicle technology.

An unpopular transition

According to a recent opinion poll, the majority of Germans are not in favor of banning combustion cars by 2035: in fact, 68% of those surveyed oppose this controversial measure that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote the transition to modes of transport that are more respectful of the environment.

Same observation in France, the measure is not popular. A poll on the question of the day in Le Figaro, “Should Europe postpone the ban on the sale of new thermal cars beyond 2035? “Of the 4,798 people who voted, the vast majority (83%) believe that the ban should be postponed beyond this deadline.

This position is probably explained by several factors, such as the high cost of electric cars and the lack of charging infrastructure in Europe. However, it is also partly due to the painful economic transition that requires massive investments, as well as research and development of new technologies.

A sector dominated by China and the United States

While the arrival of the electric car is fast approaching, the sector is dominated by Chinese automakers, but also by American competitors such as Tesla. We can also mention companies from the world of technology, such as Apple, which could also be a great new competitor.


The race to lead the electric revolution is still far from over and it is unclear whether brands like Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW, Bosch or even Porsche will be able to keep up.

For the first time in the history of the German automotive industry, the possibility of such prestigious brands disappearing is real. German carmakers are rushing to adapt to the transition to electrification by investing heavily in batteries and launching ambitious programmes. However, your ability to manage this transition is not yet guaranteed.

An alliance of European countries to change the rules

Thus, Germany has formed an alliance with Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic to oppose the ban on thermal cars from 2035, unless synthetic fuels are exempt from the ban.

E-fuels, also called synthetic fuels or electrofuels, are hotly debated. These fuels are artificially produced from renewable electricity and CO2 captured from the atmosphere. Some proponents of e-fuels see them as a promising solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while others worry that they represent an inefficient use of renewable energy, which should be spent on uses that are harder to decarbonise. Especially since synthetic fuels still emit fine particles in the exhaust.

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