We Need A Consensus For The Hydrogen Infrastructure
We Need A Consensus For The Hydrogen Infrastructure

Video: We Need A Consensus For The Hydrogen Infrastructure

Video: We Need A Consensus For The Hydrogen Infrastructure
Video: USEA CONSENSUS WEBINAR: The Developing Hydrogen Economy – Potential, Progress, and Challenges 2023, November

Schaeffler Head of Development Peter Gutzmer has spoken out against further tightening of the EU's CO2 legislation. She is already very ambitious today.

As Gutzmer said in an interview with Autogazette, he welcomes and accepts the values set by the EU up to 2030 as an ambitious orientation for the creation of solution scenarios. But “what the commission has set with 15 and 30 percent reductions in the fleet over a period of five years is beyond the ecologically and economically feasible limit,” said Gutzmer. According to the EU, the CO2 limit of 95 g / km to be achieved by 2021 is to be reduced by a further 15 percent by 2025 and by 30 percent by 2030.


Risk to jobs if the situation becomes more severe

Gutzmer, who is also the supplier's deputy chairman, warned against further tightening of the CO2 limit values. "If we unilaterally tighten these goals even further, there is a risk of a nonsensical ban on combustion engines in Europe, with significant consequences for jobs and global competitiveness."

For the manager, the combustion engine plays a key role in individual mobility. It is of great importance for achieving the fleet's goals. "We must by no means make the mistake of defining the issue of CO2 as a global problem through a local solution and even technology bans."

Needs a common understanding of uniform test cycles


Autogazette: Mr. Gutzmer, the auto industry keeps complaining about the CO2 limit values of 95 g / km by 2021. Can you understand that?

Peter Gutzmer: Yes, because the current intensive public discussion about limit values and test cycles as well as technologies has destabilized the necessary conditions that would have been necessary to achieve these goals.

Autogazette: What conditions do you mean?

Gutzmer: What is needed is a common understanding of uniform test cycles and their introduction in terms of time, a jointly accepted understanding of the required scope and times of development and the extensive adjustments to the scope of testing and the reconciliation between the different test cycles. You also need a clear understanding of off-cycle solutions, i.e. the inclusion of eco-innovation measures in the calculation.

Autogazette: But the new WLTP and RDE cycle was introduced.

Gutzmer: Yes, but that does not happen in a hectic manner, taking into account all requirements and possibilities. Solutions are defined as critical, although they were developed according to applicable laws. There are also market conditions that make a holistic view necessary.

The focus is on the end user

Schaeffler Chief Development Officer Peter Gutzmer. Photo. Schaeffler
Schaeffler Chief Development Officer Peter Gutzmer. Photo. Schaeffler

Autogazette: Which one?

Gutzmer: The path to electromobility makes sense, but it doesn't just happen because we are building electric cars. What about the infrastructure? What about the cost? What about the whole ecosystem? These are things that have to be considered when calling for a focus on electromobility. The focus is on the end user and as long as he doubts and believes that an electric vehicle means more restrictions than usual benefits for him, with higher acquisition costs at the same time, it will be difficult to achieve these fleet goals.

Autogazette: Aren't these lawsuits the result of a failed model policy? Instead of vehicles with alternative drives, SUVs dominate.

Gutzmer: Demand determines supply. People demand such vehicles because of their specific usage advantages, their seating position, the feeling of security, the space they offer and their variability. Accordingly, business enterprises have to meet this demand. Why should it be left to the industry in China to offer such vehicles to customers? In China there are manufacturers who only offer SUVs.

Reality looks different for consumers every day

Exhaust gas measurement on a diesel. Photo: dpa
Exhaust gas measurement on a diesel. Photo: dpa

Autogazette: Are the WLTP and RDE not to be welcomed because they result in a more realistic consumption picture ?

Gutzmer: This brings us closer to a more realistic average consumption picture and an expanded emissions assessment. Real consumption across the entire spectrum of user behavior will never be achieved through standardization. With the WLTP we drive higher loads and drive longer, so that we achieve higher consumption. This brings you closer to reality. But this reality looks different for the consumer every day. Once you drive your daily route in a traffic jam, once without a traffic jam, once relaxed, once tense - and each time with different consumption values. That has to be accepted.

Autogazette: Is it a problem that the WLTP is not valid worldwide?

Gutzmer: It's a big problem because the companies have to provide the necessary evidence with a lot of effort with different requirements and framework conditions, and the original approach of the WLTP should reduce precisely that. But the fact is that in Europe we are traveling with loads and speeds that are not the case in the USA. In China too, people are starting to create their own profiles. If standardization is supposed to describe reality closely at the same time, global harmonization is difficult to implement. As a consequence, this means a significantly higher effort for the global industry.

E-mobility alone is not enough


Autogazette: The EU Commission wants to reduce the CO2 limit values by 15 percent by 2025, and 30 percent by 2030. Are these limit values that mean the combustion engine will shut down?

Gutzmer: No, in my opinion on the contrary. The combustion engine continues to play a key role for individual mobility during this period and is therefore of great importance for achieving these fleet goals. We must by no means make the mistake of defining the issue of CO2 as a global problem through a local solution and even technology bans.

Autogazette: Can the CO2 problem be solved by an accelerated step into e-mobility?

Gutzmer: With the small number of electric cars we have today, we have no problem filling them with renewable electricity. If the volume increases, however, the renewable electricity will no longer suffice without adjustments and optimizations in the entire energy network. With electric cars alone, there will be no CO2-neutral or CO2-reduced individual mobility in the long term.

Autogazette: Don't you forget that the share of renewable energy, which is now over 36 percent, will continue to rise?

Gutzmer:No, the situation with the generation of renewable energy is becoming even more critical because we cannot represent stability in the increasingly fluctuating supply and consumption in the grids. No question about it, electromobility is a must. But e-mobility alone is not enough to create optimal supply concepts and distribution systems in Germany from an economic and ecological point of view. We need expanded solutions here, for example by creating stationary intermediate storage facilities or buffer solutions using hydrogen or synthetic fuels. That is why we need technology neutrality and technology competition. If the electricity supply is sufficient in the average amount, that does not mean that it will also be sufficient when it is needed at a certain point in time.

Accept values as an ambitious orientation

Autogazette: You appeared before the Bundestag's Environment Committee at the end of June and said that excessively ambitious limit values would lead to a technology ban. Are the guidelines from Brussels too ambitious?

Gutzmer: What the commission has stipulated with 15 and 30 percent reductions in the fleet over a period of five years is above the ecologically and economically feasible limit. But: I welcome and accept these values as a very ambitious orientation, so that different solution scenarios can be created. At the same time, it is positive that the Commission is moving away from absolute values and opting for the right solution with a percentage improvement. But it also seems important to me that the Commission recognizes that the effects of the WLTP test procedure must also be taken into account.

Autogazette: How can the industry come as close as possible to this goal?

Gutzmer:We have to be broadband and technology-neutral. In addition to the further potential of the internal combustion engine drive, we have to evaluate all electromobility solutions and take them into account in relation to the market potential. We have to introduce topics that broaden the sector, such as synthetic fuels or the importance of the raw material supply for batteries, and in particular promote and intensify research. The Commission's goals are very ambitious. If we unilaterally tighten these targets even further, there is a risk of a nonsensical ban on internal combustion engines in Europe, with significant consequences for jobs and global competitiveness. In order to meet the Commission's targets in 2030, according to our first estimate, the average fleet in Europe could consist of 30 percent battery-electric vehicles and at least 40 percent hybridized drives, the remainder being combustion engines with significant efficiency improvements.

There is no energy problem

Wind turbines provide green electricity
Wind turbines provide green electricity

Autogazette: In April you spoke out in favor of technology neutrality at an expert hearing at the EU in Brussels. Do you believe that the climate targets allow us to stick to the combustion engine?

Gutzmer: Yes, I'm sure of that. With the battery electric systems known today, we cannot achieve the CO2 targets by 2030 alone. The prohibition of a technology never meant that we were ecologically and economically better.

Autogazette: You speak out for synthetic fuels. Do you not fail to recognize that the energy demand for generation is very high?

Gutzmer: It's high, that's right. But that also depends on the viewing window. The amount of energy that the sun radiates on earth in three hours would at least theoretically be sufficient to secure the annual energy consumption of mankind. There is no energy problem, but there is one of converting, storing and distributing into usable energies in our systems. Synthetic fuels are less efficient to produce in Germany, but because of the higher solar radiation they are in Africa, for example. This could also have positive effects on the economic situation there.

Autogazette: You said before the Environment Committee that synthetic fuels could be CO2 neutral. If the benefits are so evident, why are they rarely used?

Gutzmer: We haven't pushed the topic sufficiently in research. This is done in China and Japan. In Europe we need every form of energy storage from a technology-neutral perspective. Be it battery-electric or in the form of hydrogen or in gaseous or liquid fuels.

Need consensus in Germany for hydrogen infrastructure

Hydrogen refueling. Photo: Audi
Hydrogen refueling. Photo: Audi

Autogazette: In contrast to Japan, why does hydrogen not play a role for us?

Gutzmer: Because politics in Japan is strongly promoting the development of a hydrogen infrastructure. When politics sets the course for a form of mobility, industry can adapt. We need a consensus in Germany for the hydrogen infrastructure and the necessary raw material chain. In Japan, with whose mobility industry we are in clear global competition, various ecosystems are being expanded in parallel by consensus between politicians and industry, so as far as I know they continue to rely heavily on the combustion engine there. With us, on the other hand, it is questioned.

Autogazette: You describe a focus on pure e-mobility as a threat to jobs. Isn't the opposite true, after all, new jobs are also being created?

Gutzmer: No, the added value share of a vehicle with a combustion engine is higher than that of an electric car. Battery technology and the drive technology of electric cars simply contain less added value, even with other qualification profiles. Therefore certain jobs will disappear. Current studies show that up to 70,000 jobs in Germany could be at risk.

«Developing potential in internal combustion engine propulsion»

Autogazette: The Paris climate protection agreement provides for a CO2 reduction of between 80 and 95 percent for the EU by 2050. Doesn't the courage to turn around mobility now need to be in order to achieve this goal?

Gutzmer: Don't we have it? We are tapping the potential of internal combustion engine drives and, at the same time, preparing for e-mobility in large steps with many innovations. We have to take the path to new mobility in ambitious but feasible and affordable feasibility stages - and always taking into account various relevant factors for the competitiveness of our core industry, but also from an economic point of view, such as job security. The period to 2050 is still so long that I refuse to make technological decisions today that do not ensure that I will actually achieve this goal. There are many dependencies that one branch of industry cannot independently resolve on its own.

Autogazette: If you want to achieve these goals, you need predictability. Is it possible to plan with technology neutrality?

Gutzmer:Absolutely, if the plannability also results in realistic periods of time for the development and stabilization of series developments. If this ability to plan takes into account sufficient periods for economically necessary periods, neither of these is given in the discussed targets for CO2 reductions after 5 years. In addition, such guidelines should include and take into account the funding and the necessary time periods for basic research and applied research and technological research. We can use scenarios up to 2030 to estimate fairly precisely what is ecologically and economically feasible. What we cannot assess so well, however, are essential framework conditions, for example how the consumer changes or how the global economic, customs and tax system is changing. Depending on these key external influencing factors, milestones for review and adaptation must be incorporated into the further CO2 legislation.

We are aware of our responsibility

Peter Gutzmer. Photo: Schaeffler
Peter Gutzmer. Photo: Schaeffler

Autogazette: Traffic should reduce its CO2 reductions by 42 percent by 2030. However, it is currently above the 1990 reference value. Are you and the automotive industry aware of your responsibility as a supplier?

Gutzmer: We are aware of our responsibility. This is also shown by the CO2 reduction that the automotive industry has achieved so far. This is also shown by the massive investments and the development of expertise in e-mobility, especially by the German supplier industry. But the increase in the volume of traffic has in turn caused the values to rise accordingly, which must also be included in the assessment of the further procedure - in addition to the ambitious specifications - as an essential factor that is difficult to influence directly by the automotive industry.

Frank Mertens conducted the interview with Peter Gutzmer