In Berlin, Sunday witnessed the meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel and auto makers over the discussion of additional measures which includes engine retrofits, to avoid large-scale diesel vehicle bans in the cities of German. Such a change will mark a striking change in mind by the German leader in the debate over the issue of industry-wide emission fraud in 2015.
Until now, Dr. Merkel has spent very much cost on retrofitting engines – estimated €3,000 per vehicle – and a solution for air quality in German cities is slow, many of which are violating the European Union guidelines. She backed the industry solution for cheaper and less effective software updates as well. So, German cities have brought their own measures which includes speed limits on major traffic arteries and promises to buy cleaner buses in a bid to bring air quality.
Still, dozens of cities are taken to court by some German environmental groups. To that, judges have already imposed the bans on diesel vehicles. Later, court banned looming, affecting millions of German commuters and businesses. Also, a court ruled that Frankfurt, the largest state in Hesse, must ban polluting older diesel and petrol vehicles from the city centre.
Mr Volker Bouffier, Hesse state premier and a senior member of Dr Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) said, “We want that the federal government creates the conditions so that engine retrofits can take place at the cost of the manufacturer.”
Dr Merkel has told her federal transport minister Andreas Scheuer to find a way to make older diesel vehicles cleaner to avoid large-scale bans. However, it is not clear who will finance industry or taxpayers.
Politicians and car executives were also expected to discuss about diesel standard at the meeting of Sunday. “But there are six million Euro-6 diesels of which an estimated 80 per cent have emissions above emission limits,” said Prof Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, auto analyst.
Hannah Weber is a seasoned journalist with nearly 10 years experience. While studying journalism at FernUniversität Hagen, Hannah found a passion for finding engaging stories. As a contributor to Deutch News, Hannah mostly covers human interest pieces.