Tue 3rd May 2022

A complete ban on the sale of internal combustion engine cars creeps ever nearer, but not all experts within the motor industry are of the opinion that a complete switch to batteries is the solution.

There’s a growing number of influential bodies and automakers that believe that developing greener fuels should be explored further, particularly as a shift to batteries is likely to cost the economy in hundreds of thousands of jobs.

One of the those groups is the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), a German organisation, which is arguing that fossil fuels in their current state, petrol and diesel, are the cause of C02 emissions, and not the actual engine technology.

The European Union has earmarked 2035 as the year that fuel cell and battery electric vehicles will be the only cars allowed on sale, but the VDMA has called for a rethink, and pointed to the 160,000 jobs that are under threat in Europe alone.

“Instead of effectively banning the combustion engine by limiting all tailpipe emissions to zero, all climate-friendly drive options should be used,” said VDMA president, Karl Haeusgen.

“The internal combustion engine powered by CO2-neutral, green eFuels remains a necessary complement to the electrification of road transport. After all, it is not the engine that is the problem, but the fossil fuels used to date.”

German brand Porsche are one of a number of companies which have invested millions in researching and developing cleaner synthetic fuels, but unless Governments take a pause it is unlikely that these eFuels will even enter the conversation. And Haeusgen warns that even though many new jobs will be created in battery tech, they will never cover the manpower needed for the internal combustion engine. 

He said: “It is true that new jobs will be created in the upstream processes of the supply chain, for example in the processing of materials for battery cells and in the charging infrastructure environment. But this is not happening at the same time and nowhere near the same amount. The new jobs are not interchangeable with those lost."