The trend towards heavy and fuel-guzzling sports utility vehicles (SUVs) endangers Germany’s climate targets and should be stopped by policymakers, the country’s energy agency (dena) said.
“Without further political instruments to counteract [the SUV trend], the share of large, fuel-intensive passenger cars will probably continue to rise,” dena said.
“This will lead to an increase in emissions at the same mileage and a lack of space on the roads, but also in inner cities.” A continuation of current trends in new car registrations will put the transport sector’s climate targets out of reach, the agency warned.
“There is an extremely urgent and massive need for action in climate and transport policy.”
Dena noted that foreign brands are gaining ground in Germany’s small car and battery-electric vehicle sales, while domestic carmakers increasingly focus on SUVs that offer higher profit margins.
In the first eleven months of the year, 47 percent of new cars registered in Germany had an alternative propulsion system, an increase of 12 percent, according to transport authority kba.
Slightly more than 28 percent were either pure electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. Almost 16 percent were pure electric, an increase of over 22 percent.
Dena said that in addition to the acceleration of the ramp-up of alternative drive systems, steps to increase energy efficiency in transport, traffic avoidance and a shift to public transport also look urgently necessary. The government plans to agree on a package of measures to lower transport emissions by spring next year.
Germany has been struggling to lower emissions in the transport sector for decades.
Many experts say the government’s first 12 months in office were another lost year in the shift to green mobility, with the transport ministry led by Free Democrat (FDP) Volker Wissing widely blamed for inaction.
The transition will have to gather pace rapidly to reach the sector’s climate targets: Emissions will have to fall from 148 million tonnes of CO2 in 2021 to 85 million tonnes by 2030.