German Group: Don’t Eliminate ICEs Yet


The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association in Germany last week urged the European Commission to change course on the development of Euro 7, arguing that the current direction for the region’s next automobile emissions standard could hurt the environment as well as the economy.

In a Feb. 17 position paper, the association warned that a proposed standard would practically prohibit sales of new cars powered solely by internal combustion engines as early as 2025, suffocating looming advances that could make the technology clean enough to significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Retiring ICEs so soon could also eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs across the European Union, said the association, whose German acronym is VDMA.

“We are aware that many a politician sees an immediate end to the internal combustion engine as an advantage for the climate – but the opposite is the case,” VDMA President Karl Haeusgen said in the position paper. “Especially in this decade, the use of efficient internal combustion engines is still important, even more so since they can be operated in a climate-neutral manner with eFuels in sight and make the mass of existing vehicles more climate-friendly.”

The EU has for decades been at the globe’s cutting edge for development of automotive emissions standards. Countries around the world have modeled their own standards after the Euro series, though sometimes lagging behind them.

Euro 7 is scheduled to take effect in 2025 and would replace Euro 6, which was implemented in 2014. The EC plans to begin deliberations soon a proposal that is part of the Green New Deal to require new cars to emit almost no carbon dioxide – a sharp reduction that at least some observers believe would effectively prohibit sales of cars powered only by ICEs. Electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles would be required instead.

VDMA maintained that industry is close to being able to deploy a variety of alternative fuels, from hydrogen to synthetics, that could significantly reduce ICE emissions – probably less than EVs on a per-unit basis but potentially with a far greater cumulative impact given that most vehicles around the world are still powered by ICEs.

The global trend toward tighter automotive emissions standards has had a large impact on automotive lubricants by requiring formulations that are compatible with emissions control technology and – more recently – by demanding contributions toward improved fuel economy. The latter trend led to significant reductions in engine oil viscosity.

A large shift toward electric vehicles would also impact the lubes industry by eroding demand for product such as engine oils while requiring development of new kinds of lubricants and coolants.

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