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Jürgen Trittin and Katrin Göring-Eckardt: An interview with green top candidates

Jürgen Trittin and Katrin Göring-Eckardt
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Tesla boss Elon Musk doesn't understand why Germany is a pioneer when it comes to solar energy, but not when it comes to e-cars. Do you have an explanation for this?

Trittin: D he German automotive industry has has concentrated for a very long time on being very good in the area where she is (actually) world class. That means on the production of high-performance internal combustion engines with corresponding drive trains and circuits. For a very long time it has shied away from addressing alternative drive technologies because the construction of an electric motor was not considered necessary. The German auto industry had an advantage: In terms of overall consumption for average use, we were better with combustion engines than in the USA and Japan when we drove longer distances. But especially for shorter distances, which make up the lion's share, hybrid technology is a decisive innovation. In combination with the fact that the battery is the key technology, the German auto industry has lagged behind and is unfortunately still lagging behind. With such key technologies in particular, we have to be careful not to be left behind.

Mr Musk believes that the market would not gain momentum without incentives, i.e. subsidies for electric cars. Should the acquisition be further subsidized? The new company car taxation regulation is a step in the right direction.

Göring-Eckhardt: At the moment, around 7,000 electric cars are registered and that's pretty much little. That has to do with a lack of incentives. There must be other tax incentives. Buying electric cars has to be so worthwhile that the vehicle fleets have to adapt. That takes a couple of years. But company cars will always be replaced relatively quickly. In this respect, this is the key to more electromobility. Based on this, the private buyer will follow suit.

Do you think that the goal of 2020 is to have one million electric vehicles on the roads?

Trittin: Yes, with electric bicycles it will be so far in 2020 (laughs). 60 percent of the vehicles are sold as company cars. We have to come up with new regulations. If you cap the company car privilege with a view to upper consumption limits and special incentives for very efficient vehiclesvehicles that combine both would come onto the market very quickly in Germany.

To achieve the 2020 climate targets, the government has also factored in 1.2 million natural gas vehicles. So far there are just 100,000. Why is nothing going on there?

Trittin: The fact that there are 100,000 at all has, among other things, to do with the fact that we were together in our reign started with the industry to expand the filling station network so that you can even move with a natural gas vehicle. At this point in time, natural gas is a significant CO2 saving. But this is a transition technology.

The leading German auto industry always complains when it comes to higher standards - that was the case with the catalytic converter, with the soot filter, now with the CO2 limit values ​​from 2025. And they wins through. Why?

Trittin: Not always. That has something to do with how short the line to the respective federal government is. And with this Chancellor it is very brief: Angela Merkel immediately fulfills what the auto industry demands. Supported by their Minister of State, Eckart von Klaeden, who in a few months will become Damiler's highly paid chief lobbyist. But Angela Merkel is doing the German auto industry a disservice, as it will be left behind in global competition if it is not a pioneer. This is also intended to be very short-term because the German engineers and manufacturers are actually able to deliver what is required.

Göring-Eckardt : The knowledge and the good people, we have it all in Germany. It is therefore relatively incomprehensible why the German car manufacturers actually did not notice that it was their chance to research in the other direction and to put their know-how into it.

Why is the compromise reached now in terms of CO2 limit values ​​a lazy one in your opinion?

Trittin: With the super credits, a regulation has been introduced that can be quite innovative in itself. But combined with the limit value of 95 g /km, this means that a prestigious car, so to speak, is built into a vehicle fleet, which is very efficient, and you can then continue with the rest. I also didn't understand at all how the industry, out of sheer fear of further development, defends itself against having predictable goals. That should actually be massive in their interest. But even this watered down compromise Angela Merkel buried at the European level and thus completely canceled climate protection.

The mobility landscape in Germany has changed.Car sharing, for example, is out of the muesli corner and has become chic. Did you expect that to happen at this speed?

Göring-Eckardt: It's such a mixture of wish and reality. We have always said we need connected mobility. You have to make sure that owning a car is no longer as worthwhile as sharing it. It has indeed taken on a moment of its own. And of course it's great to have a car around the corner in the city. This is still different in rural areas. Although I wouldn't underestimate the potential there either. The fact that there will be much more networked mobility in the future is the be-all and end-all of all traffic planning.

Why are we no longer getting large projects on the line in Germany, for example Berlin airport, the Stuttgart train station, expansion of power lines?

Trittin: On the one hand we have projects that were planned as prestige projects. And in order to enforce them, they were downscaled. Take Stuttgart 21, for example. Then there are things that are stalling at the moment because those who have to finance them cannot. That is the main problem with the question of power lines, not the resistance of the citizens. The network operators don't have enough money. And then there is one area that specifically affects the transport infrastructure: only 25 percent of bridges on motorways and on railways are in good or very good condition. That means everyone else is no longer in good shape. That has to do with the fact that the start of construction was celebrated for a long time in transport policy and all the money that was had somewhere was put into a start of construction. Our infrastructure fell into disrepair. Everywhere we have road projects that were started ten years ago, but where nothing happens. In future, transport and infrastructure policy must strictly give priority to maintaining the existing infrastructure over building new ones.

Göring-Eckardt: There are already roads in our country that are simply closed because no road maintenance has taken place. When the Greens talk about roads for so long, it is surprising at first, but mobility and services of general interest include being able to drive on the roads that are there.

Am It can't be money, tax revenue is gushing. Why do road construction sites take years, if not decades, in one of the most progressive industrial nations in the world?

Göring-Eckhardt: One problem with that is that too much is started at the same time.

To be more precise: With receipt, expansion is also heavily loadedFor example, distances from two to three lanes in each direction?

Göring-Eckardt: It's not that we don't want a new building at all. It's a matter of priority: repair first, i.e. receipt before new construction.

Do we need a car toll from your point of view?

Trittin: I am in favor of causer-based pollution. The greatest loads in road traffic come from freight traffic. That is why we Greens want the truck toll also on federal highways, from 3.5 tons. That is fair to the polluter. With its toll model for cars, the CSU wants a flat rate for frequent drivers, which should be paid for by those who drive little. That is unfair and, given the climate catastrophe, absurd.

The energy turnaround is here, but why do citizens have to foot the bill in the form of rapidly rising electricity prices and not industry? Will you turn this screw when the Greens are involved in the upcoming government?

Göring-Eckardt: We have four billion exemptions for Companies that don't need them. There must be exemptions for companies that are energy-intensive and compete internationally. So we introduced it with red-green in the EEG. In the meantime, companies are receiving exceptions which, firstly, they do not need and, secondly, are by no means in any global competition. Nobody will be able to explain to me why, for example, the weather service in Offenbach gets an exception.

Trittin: Due to the new rules that Black-Yellow made, a large part of the large mills, for example, are suddenly now energy-intensive, the small ones Mills are not. Although they sell the same thing - namely flour. We pay with our electricity bill that, for example, the small mills in Germany are destroyed. This is how the energy transition is thoroughly screwed up.

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