The dispute over the future of the car drive: Between wishful thinking, physics, company interests and customer wishes

Technology openness is part of the automotive future

When Audi boss Markus Duesmann questions the hydrogen fuel cell in cars, then this statement is just as driven by corporate interests as the plea of ​​the ex-BMW development chief and Linde supervisory board chairman Wolfgang Reitzles for the hydrogen fuel cell. Technological openness is the only right way, because it leaves the decision to physical reality and the market, not to political-ideological competition.

The new Audi boss Markus Duesmann is responsible for the consistent VW group strategy for electric mobility with batteries, the other, as the ex-Linde boss, stands for the conviction that hydrogen is the fuel of the future. However, Reitzle saw it that way as head of development at BMW. And ultimately everyone agrees that the long-term solution - we're talking about 50 years here - is called electromobility. After all, the fuel cell with hydrogen also means that the vehicle is powered by an electric motor. However, there are also developments to use hydrogen in the internal combustion engine, as BMW had already successfully developed in a 12-cylinder 7 Series for series production. In addition, there are other options such as gas or synthetic fuels to the right and left of the drive technology roadmap.

Wolfgang Reitzle gives a clever speech

Both protagonists can confidently be called perpetrators of conviction. Reitzle pushed the hydrogen technology in passenger car combustion engines back in the nineties of the last century and later, as a Linde manager, directed the gas world market leader towards hydrogen production. What Wolfgang Reitzle currently thinks about these topics, he explained in a highly interesting speech on the presentation of the Nicolaus-August-Otto Awards 2020 to Reitzle. The Car-Guy Reitzle thinks a hasty way to the battery car is wrong.

Many media applauds battery mobility uncritically

How controversial, but nevertheless very subtle, the discussion about the future of the car drive is being made is also clear in the media coverage, which predominantly applauds the government's intentions to quickly and exclusively help the battery car achieve a breakthrough. In a headline, the FAZ is pleased that the “German e-car target has been half achieved”. With the sentence that 520.000 vehicles are now registered ”, the FAZ is deliberately incomplete in suggesting that half of the e-car target has actually been met. But that's not true! Because around half of this figure also includes plug-in hybrids that also have a combustion engine on board. This is mentioned in the article, but it remains untrue that the German e-car target (1 million battery cars in 2020) has been half achieved.

Energy experts expect that the alleged battery-car euphoria will soon subside. Not only because the charging station infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. This can and likely will change soon. But mainly because fear of range still prevents car buyers from buying a battery-powered vehicle. Battery car buyers remain a minority. And for deeply thoughtful car buyers, a sober analysis makes it clear that battery drives are still more environmentally critical than an efficient combustion engine. Especially because some of the charging power comes from coal-fired power generation.

The Chancellor has turned her convictions 180 degrees

And then the Federal Network Agency and the Federal Statistical Office reported something dubious: Because electricity production in Germany from coal and nuclear power is falling, more electricity from coal and nuclear power has to be imported from abroad. The imported electricity is particularly needed when there is no wind and darkness. In 2020, imported electricity increased by 2019 percent to 35 gigawatt hours compared to 33.000. What will these numbers look like when we have millions of battery cars on the road?

In this context it is interesting what a well-known politician said at the Katholikentag in 2008: “I don't think it makes sense for the country with the safest nuclear power plants to stop the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Germany makes a fool of itself if it wants to have a clear conscience that nuclear and coal-fired power stations are being shut down and at the same time electricity that has been generated from the same energy sources is imported from neighboring countries. ”This forward-looking politician was none other than Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is known to think everything from the end. It is more than questionable whether she will think it through to the end.









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