Lindner insists on e-fuels instead of a complete phasing out of combustion engines from 2035
Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has stepped up the argument about the Europe-wide end of combustion engines planned by the EU from 2035 and signaled a concession: a few days ago, on the sidelines of a trade union conference of the German Tax Union in Berlin, he said that synthetic fuels (E -Fuels) should continue to be pursued as an option: "Climate neutrality is just as possible with synthetic liquid fuels in piston engines. If that can be mapped at European level, there is nothing to prevent approval,” says Lindner.
He received support - after he had already been Minister of Transport Volker Wissing (FDP) - now also from FDP parliamentary group Vice President Lukas Köhler. "It would be a big mistake to ban the internal combustion engine and thus exclude climate-neutral fuels from the competition for the best climate protection technologies," he told the DPA news agency. Therefore, Germany should not agree to the EU plans "in the form now proposed". In any case, e-fuels are urgently needed to improve the carbon footprint of the existing fleet, Köhler continued: "The well over one billion existing vehicles with combustion engines in the world also need a climate-friendly perspective". An EU-wide de facto ban would slow down this development, so the fear of the FDP parliamentary group deputy.
At the meeting of EU environment ministers on Tuesday, the EU states want to adopt their position on the end of combustion engines, although the decision does not have to be unanimous, a qualified majority would be sufficient. If opinions continue to differ, Germany could also abstain from the vote - which would ultimately be interpreted as a no.
E-fuels are produced using electricity. If green electricity is used, the climate balance is neutral. However, synthetic fuels have the disadvantage that their production is extremely energy-intensive. An average electric car currently needs a good 18 kWh of electrical energy for a distance of 100 kilometers, while a combustion engine powered by e-fuel requires more than 100 kWh.
During the discussion, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke made it clear that "the entire federal government" had already agreed in March to "support all forms of the EU Commission's proposal to only allow zero-emission vehicles from 2035". Germany supports the EU Commission's climate plans, she added a few days ago, because they "implement an agreement from the coalition agreement". She described this as an "important step", which means "planning security for the economy".
According to Lemke, e-fuels “can at best play a role outside of the existing system of fleet limits, i.e. in special vehicles such as excavators or the fire brigade.” A spokesman for the Federal Environment Minister confirmed: “The Federal Government fully supports the proposal of the Commission and the European Parliament , from 2035 new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles will only be permitted with zero-emission drives.”