Guest contribution by Peter Schwerdtmann: Confessions of an old car fan

We are still far from reaching Norway. Photo: ampnet

The Vienna Philharmonic is still playing the traditional New Year's concert, so I catch myself in the middle of a Korean manufacturer's configurator looking for the right infotainment for a compact SUV - with battery drive. Should I be one of the more than fifty percent of Germans considering buying an electric car? They raised me with petrol from an early age, first for the Fiat Topolino, then with a mixture for the DKW 1000 SP with a proud 55 hp.

Since then I have been happy to see myself as Petrolhead and vehemently oppose the fact that politicians have made the battery-electric car the only alternative that can save the climate. The drive of the electric car is initially only free of pollutants and of climate-damaging carbon dioxide at the place where it is used. But the climate is global. And from a global perspective, the electric car falls behind as long as all or part of its electricity is generated from coal, so what drives me to break such taboos?

Where should the charging stations go?

The music from the Austrian capital? We have been living in a small town in the soft image of a northern German city for many years in a 19th century settler's house with a good power grid and large garage. The socket next to the gate often catches my eye: a super space for a battery-electric car or a plug-in hybrid. My biggest route is the trip to the airport, a good 100 kilometers there and back. A battery charge would be enough for a week and even a trip to the coast without recharging. Before, in a Wilhelminian-style neighborhood of the city, we would have problems with our apartment on the third floor with an electric car today. Even then there wasn't enough parking spaces. Where should the charging stations go today?

And if there is, there is already someone who still blocks the column in the morning. We would only have had the cable drum. This is the way it is for many in the big city, where charging stations in the underground car park cannot yet be approved. Not many city dwellers have a private parking space or their own garage. Often only the employee car park with a power connection helps, but in the countryside electromobility offers a surprising number of options, especially for commuters. With a good electricity tariff at home, the electric car and the plug-in become economically attractive alternatives that protect you from driving bans and reduce the burden on your destination.

The autonomous “taxi” only belongs in the country

Later, when autonomous driving has found its way, the electric car will be able to bring local public transport to the flat country, from which city dwellers are already spoiled today. Small units without a driver can connect villages and centers, even without a timetable, as required. The autonomous "taxi" therefore only belongs in the countryside before it arrives in the city. In the city and in the country, electromobility can thrive in fleets that are operated from a central point for maintenance and charging. This also applies to the so-called last mile, the delivery of goods to the individual customer. If all of this can still be done without a driver, the advantage of electric mobility for the city dweller is complete.

Such comfort would also be welcome in the flat countryside, and it struck me with the Vienna Philharmonic. The rural perspective with classical music changes my view of the battery-electric car. Now I am convinced that in the countryside, especially in the haze of big cities, electric cars first belong in the country if politics do not want the country to be left behind again. E-mobility is suitable for creating equivalent living conditions between city and country. For me as a Petrolhead, this is an unexpected final chord, worthy of the Vienna Philharmonic.

Hopefully I can fill up with synthetic diesel soon

But even the new decade will not lead to a new way of thinking about mobility. The cities of Berlin will continue to determine the direction and will not worry about how to get around on foot, by bike, e-scooter and walker, but without the subway. That's why I will probably buy a diesel with due regard to the climate, one that swallows more particulate matter than it emits and then hope that I can fill up with synthetically produced diesel soon because of the climate. (ampnet / Sm)

1 comment to "Guest article by Peter Schwerdtmann: Confessions of an old car enthusiast"

  1. Instead of smashing an entire branch of industry to put a car on the road, where it is not even guaranteed that there will always be enough electricity for it, it would simply be logical to use the know-how of our engineers to use the combustion engine make it even more efficient and environmentally friendly. German cars have the best reputation worldwide. Mercedes star, AUDI, BMW and VW logo are known in many countries as the German flag.

    The Greens' index finger policy is forcing car buyers into cars that don't want them at all.

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