2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
The automotive supplier Schaeffler calls for incentives for electromobility. In an interview with Autogazette, Head of Development Peter Gutzmer also talks about the future of the diesel engine and how the supplier envisions the mobility of tomorrow.
The automotive supplier Schaeffler sees the hesitant attitude of politicians in promoting electromobility as damage to Germany as a business location. «Yes, that harms the business location. Anyone who, like the federal government, wants to become the lead market in electromobility has to do more,”said Schaeffler Chief Development Officer Peter Gutzmer in an interview with Autogazette. "You just have to look around Europe and you will see that there is another way," added Gutzmer, who is also the supplier's deputy chairman.
One million electric cars will not be available by 2020
The manager sees the goal of one million electric cars by 2020 set by the federal government as no longer achievable. “The auto industry and its suppliers have delivered what they agreed with politicians. That what has been achieved in cooperation with the government extends exclusively to the issue of research funding. That is not to be criticized. But that's not enough if you want to achieve such ambitious goals,”says Gutzmer. "Unfortunately, it can be stated that politics has so far not made its contribution to making Germany the leading international market for electromobility."
For Gutzmer, incentives must therefore be created so that electromobility can still pick up speed on the market. “That makes sense in the fleet area, for example. Attempts at a special depreciation for commercially used e-cars were made here, but politicians have not ratified them. " At the same time, Gutzmer would consider it sensible if the public sector also set a good example and "issued an obligation for authorities to include electric cars in their fleets".
The new cycle is not a hurdle
Autogazette: Mr. Gutzmer, what challenges do you face as a supplier with the new WLTP test cycle from 2017, which is intended to map real consumption more realistically than the NEDC?
Peter Gutzmer:One thing can already be seen clearly today: technical solutions that were designed with the NEDC in mind will in future make a smaller contribution to the cycle-oriented consumption analysis. These include, for example, hybridization and start-stop systems. At Schaeffler, we are also working on topics such as reducing friction and power-on-demand. The consumption reductions achieved in these sectors are reflected both in the cycle and in real driving. Schaeffler has a comprehensive view of the drive train and in this way is playing a key role in shaping the mobility of the future. And accordingly, the new cycle is not a hurdle either.
Autogazette:The EU has set a CO2 limit of 95 g / km for 2021. Will the new test cycle mean that car manufacturers will only be able to achieve this value with more effort?
Gutzmer: The CO2 limit of 95 g / km only applies to the NEDC. If you look at this from the perspective of the WLTP cycle, the values are currently ten to 20 percent higher. If you simply transfer this value from one cycle to the other, it would be an enormous additional challenge. There is therefore an agreement that the WLTP will also be measured in parallel to the NEDC. A transition formula must then be defined for the period after 2020.
Will continue to need diesel
Autogazette: Does n't the new WLTP cycle play into your hands because it allows you to exploit all your innovative strength ?
Gutzmer: Absolutely, because the weight and also the aerodynamics play a different role at the higher speeds that the WLTP cycle provides. There is still potential here for all suppliers to offer further solutions. By that I mean, for example, hybridization, recuperation, weight optimization and the already mentioned further reduction in friction.
Autogazette: In the wake of the VW emissions scandal, there was a lot of discussion about the future of the diesel engine. How do you assess the future of diesel?
Gutzmer:What happened there is regrettable for the entire industry. But we will still need diesel in the commercial vehicle sector. And in Europe, compression-ignition engines will continue to be necessary to achieve the CO2 limit values for cars. With today's exhaust technology, the EU6 emissions standard can also be achieved for diesel. The diesel engine is still the most economical drive solution. Even compared to the hybrid. Compared to the gasoline engine, it offers consumption advantages of up to 20 percent. Accordingly, diesel continues to have a future. But we can also assume that the diesel market share will not grow any further in percentage terms. But it will maintain its volume in the countries where it is strong today.
Autogazette:How timely is it to tax a fuel like diesel better than gasoline? You currently pay 18.4 cents less energy and eco tax for him.
Gutzmer: I would like electromobility, especially in Germany, and especially in the introductory phase, to receive stronger support than before. Should it come to that, one can wonder whether the diesel still needs such tax incentives. There are countries in which diesel is less subsidized, but is still well represented.
Autogazette: While the French government has announced in the middle of the VW emissions scandal that it will reduce the tax advantage for diesel, this is taboo for German politicians. Do you also understand this from an environmental point of view?
Gutzmer: For me, with today's technology and compliance with the EU6 emissions standard, the diesel is definitely able to meet the environmental requirements. In view of the given CO2 targets, diesel is currently not replaceable in Europe.
That is not enough when you have such ambitious goals
Autogazette: Wouldn't the elimination of the tax advantage for diesel be a lever to promote sales of alternative drives?
Gutzmer: Of course, the elimination of the tax advantage for diesel would be a lever to promote the sale of alternative drives. The absolute fuel price has a very strong influence on consumer behavior. You can see that in the USA, for example: When fuel prices are high, the sales figures for fuel-intensive pick-up trucks fall. Politicians could certainly contribute to making alternative drives more popular through incentives or taxation.
Autogazette: Is it a laughing stock for you that the German government is sticking to its goal of having one million electric cars on the streets by 2020?
Gutzmer: I wouldn't go that far. But the goal of one million electric cars by 2020 can no longer be achieved. At this point, the auto industry and also the suppliers have delivered what they agreed with politicians. That what has been achieved in cooperation with the government extends exclusively to the issue of research funding. That is not to be criticized. But that's not enough if you want to achieve such ambitious goals. Unfortunately, it can be stated that politics has so far not made its contribution to making Germany the leading international market for electromobility.
The government is still divided
Autogazette: What would have to be done in order to achieve this goal? Do we need a purchase premium of 5000 euros for e-cars, as suggested by Federal Minister of Economics Gabriel?
Gutzmer:In order for the topic of electromobility to gain momentum in the market, incentives must be created. That made sense in the fleet area, for example. Attempts at a special depreciation for commercially used e-cars were made here, but politicians have not ratified them. It could also make sense in this regard for the public sector to set a good example and issue an obligation for authorities to include electric cars in their fleets. The government is still divided on how to achieve the goals it originally set itself. And they will probably be divided in this legislative period as well, as the reactions to Mr Gabriel's proposal now show. That what has so far come from the government to promote electromobility,is less than the minimum of what would be expected for a lead market
Autogazette: Does such a hesitant attitude harm Germany as a business location?
Gutzmer: Yes, that harms the business location. Anyone who, like the federal government, wants to become the lead market for electromobility must do more. You only have to look around Europe and you will see that there is another way. Examples are Denmark or Holland. More attractive infrastructures were created there and, ultimately, higher numbers of electric vehicles were also approved. More needs to be done in this country, especially in terms of infrastructure. The few gas stations that are currently being installed on the motorways are not enough.
Key technologies no longer from Germany
Autogazette: When do you expect battery prices to drop significantly? One kilowatt hour currently costs around 300 euros.
Gutzmer: We are currently already below 300 euros per kilowatt hour. I assume that the price will move towards 170 euros within the next three years.
Autogazette: Can that mean that we will experience a market ramp-up due to this price reduction?
Gutzmer: We are convinced that the topic of electromobility will pick up significantly in the period after 2020 - thanks to lower prices and greater ranges. And certainly also because the automotive and supplier industries have laid a foundation here with their investments in technology.
Autogazette:Are you concerned that battery production is practically no longer taking place in Germany, but in Asia?
Gutzmer: Yes, that is actually very unfortunate. This is another topic that we as a business location Germany have to deal with. Important key technologies for the future - such as batteries, but also essential electronic components such as chips - no longer come from the high-tech location Germany, but from Asia. Germany as a location and everyone involved are called upon to change this. The next generation of battery technology must also come from Germany.
Autogazette: Schaeffler wants to offer its customers technologies for the mobility of tomorrow. What are you doing about it outside of your traditional business?
Gutzmer: Schaeffler now has a broad portfolio of electric drives. For example, we are also working with universities on fuel cells. But we also look at synthetic fuels as energy storage. In the future, we are preparing for the fact that cars with internal combustion engines will be banned in megacities. That is why we also deal with alternative mobility technologies. We call this biohybrid.
Talk to big cities with our biohybrid
Autogazette: Do you mean a three-wheeled vehicle?
Gutzmer: I wouldn't reduce that to the number of wheels. The topic is about mobility systems that are on cycle paths or restricted lanes and also offer weather protection. They can also be used to carry out small transport tasks. Schaeffler is on the move on a broader basis.
Autogazette: When do you want to bring such a vehicle onto the market?
Gutzmer:We will already present something about this this year. We hope to start a pilot project - perhaps with public funding. With our biohybrid, we address large cities that are concerned about access restrictions. London, for example, is building a "highway" of 7,500 kilometers of cycle paths. Cities like Copenhagen or Paris are also interesting, but also a city like Stuttgart, for example. We believe that our biohybrid can establish itself in big cities.
Autogazette: Would you say that we will see a creeping farewell to the car as we know it today?
Gutzmer:People will want to continue to have their individual mobility, and will also demand it. However, this can also be done with vehicle structures that he does not own himself, as is the case with car sharing. I assume that in the next 20 years the proportion of electric vehicles will exceed that of cars with internal combustion engines.
Prepare for changing mobility needs
Autogazette: For many people, owning their own car is no longer the measure of all things. Have the automakers recognized that too?
Gutzmer: The vehicles sold in Germany are already company cars and are no longer the property of their users. The auto industry is just as aware of this as its suppliers. The increasing production figures for automobiles are mainly driven by the markets outside the EU zone. But how these vehicles are used, whether in the fleet or individually, remains to be seen.
Autogazette: Where do you see Schaeffler in the future? Do you have to develop from a supplier to a mobility service provider?
Gutzmer:That too has not yet been decided and will remain to be seen. But one thing is clear for Schaeffler: We have started this balancing act and, as a supplier, will also adapt to the changing mobility needs. We will live for some time with what we traditionally use to create our added value. But it is also important to show new ways today.
Frank Mertens conducted the interview with Peter Gutzmer
Dacia closed a very good first quarter with growth of 34.7 percent. Uwe Hochgeschurtz, CEO of Renault
The weak dollar poses increasing problems for automakers. “It's a topic that in the medium term can mean that we export from Europe
Opel employees have agreed to waive their wages. The prerequisite for this, however, is the completion of the sale
The discussions about diesel retrofitting continue. The CDU workers' wing called for retrofitting at the expense of the car manufacturer and found clear words
The Opel employees will not participate financially in the restructuring of the car manufacturer. The parent company is planning a total of around 9,000 across Europe