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| March 6, 2023

GT verdict: Is the transition to electric vehicles a natural development or an ideological decision?

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The vote in the European Parliament was already accompanied by a stormy debate. The zero-emission standard effectively means a definitive ban on internal combustion engines from 2035. The heated debate continues even outside the Parliament. On one side of the barricade stand the supporters of the agreement, who believe that its adoption was necessary to protect the climate, while the opponents, on the other hand, point to its fatal economic consequences. - Our client Pavel Zikmund, Grupo Antolin.

What will be the economic impact of this decision on the automotive industry in the Czech Republic and the EU?

The current EU policy is already sending the European car industry down the drain, and halting the production of combustion engine cars will stop it altogether. Betting on the single card of electrification will backfire one day very much, and we can already see it now. For the automotive industry in Europe, its fate is already sealed. At best, 3 premium brands will remain active in Europe. The rest will be imported from Asia. In my opinion, an electric car is not a completely bad solution, it makes sense with a price tag of up to CZK 500.000 and a range of 250 km for short distances or for the city.

Will the EU become dependent on imports of internal combustion engines from Asia after 2035? Isn’t strict European legislation playing in the hands of Chinese carmakers?

It will not just be the combustion engines but entire cars. The impact on employment will be enormous. It will be too late to regulate with increased customs charges, which is the only thing the EU will agree on after it has found its footing. We only need to look at how quickly and effectively Korean and Chinese car companies have quietly replaced us in Russia.

Will car ownership become a luxury that low-income groups will not be able to afford, and so they will have to continue to use old cars with internal combustion engines (and thus produce more CO2)?

Although we are among the largest manufacturers per capita, we have one of the oldest car fleets in the EU after Slovakia. The car is becoming a luxury, not only because of the price, but also because of the operating costs. Therefore, keeping cars for more than 10 years will be a trend. Where do the EU and the government stand on this? We will raise taxes on used cars, diesel and petrol, and ban cars with internal combustion engines from entering cities. These coercive methods cannot work.

Rather, let us tackle freight transport, which has a far greater impact on pollution. Let’s transfer the load to the railroad tracks. This would have greater environmental benefits. And speaking of the railroad... even in passenger transport, change can already be observed on the railways today. It is now possible to travel reliably and comfortably over longer distances by train.

Will e-fuels redeem internal combustion engines?

They definitely won’t, it is fighting fire with fire. The efficiency of current combustion engines is at such a level that e-fuels do not make sense.