Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Germany, Cars, and A Short Discussion

There are a couple of car-related things going on in Germany, which deserves one's attention, and a fair amount of pondering.

First, this past week....the Bundestag (the parliament) said 'no' to the EU proposal for more stringent controls (regulations) on auto emissions.  DW reported this.  One of the interesting aspects of the EU plan for control....was that they'd actually go and conduct on-the-spot emissions tests.

You can imagine German politicians (from both the SPD and CDU) standing there and having to react to some EU bureaucrat chatting away about tests conducted in Dresden or Munich, and you can't be a 100-percent sure about the reliability of the tests or the agenda tied to the tests.

One of the curious pieces of the regulation that the Germans pushed back against....was that if a German auto maker made a car and sold it.....and it was later found to be conflicting with emissions standards, then the car company would have to take possession of the car (compensating the owner in some way), and then pay the EU 30,000 Euro per vehicle as a 'fine'.  You imagine how VW, Opel, or Ford managers felt about that type of threat. One screw-up could basically bankrupt a company.

Funny how even the Germans can hate the EU for its regulation-creation ideas.

So, you come to the second big car discussion....diesel emissions.  It's openly discussed now that even with the new level of diesel vehicle categories (Euro-6)....even with the most modern diesel cars made and sold in Germany....they aren't clean enough for the standards now set.

All of this naturally leaves the experts looking at filter-systems that would have to be added onto vehicles.  The experts around Stuttgart, where this discussion originally started up....say the filter kit is 1,500 to 2,500 Euro.  So far, no one wants to talk much on who is going to pay for the kit (the vehicle owner obviously).  A month ago, I read a piece by one diesel owner who voiced the concern that you'd go and do this really stupid thing of paying for the kit out of your own pocket....only to learn two years later that his installed filter needs to be replaced with another newly developed and much improved kit....for another 1,500 Euro.  He might have a point on this discussion.

Finally, you come to the electrical car discussion, with the 2030 date sitting there in full view.  By 2030, unless something changes.....new car sales will be limited in Germany to strictly electric cars.  The general public doesn't chat much on this.  The general public at this point....aren't very hyped up about electric cars, with the yearly sum sold in the 4-digit range at present.

In virtually every direction you turn....there's impending or doomed regulation approaching on automobiles in Germany.  No one can say with any real authority, how things will be in twenty years with cars on German roads.

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