Marek Reichman, Chief Creative Officer of Aston Martin, is not the only one who considers electric mobility to be a transitional solution.
The automotive industry did not want the electric car. This is also true for Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. A quote from him in 2018 in the journal „Automobil Produktion“ is sufficiently revealing to be repeated here:
„Because the truth is, you’re not converting to electric, you’re converting to coal-fired. And if you then run on coal-fired electricity, e-mobility really becomes madness.“… It doesn’t make sense to put electric cars on the road if the electricity for them comes from coal, he said: „Then we’re running on coal instead of oil and producing more CO2 than we do today.“
Misguided politicians have forced the European car industry to do something that it is still not convinced makes sense. Timm Koch summed it up succinctly in his book Das Super-Molekül (The Super Molecule):
- „Doing it is cheaper than not doing it, a car executive once told me, it’s pointless, but it costs less.“
- „People are building e-cars knowing that they are anything but the automotive future.“
- „It’s not about the environment, and it’s not about the customers.“
While many in Europe still believe that the trend is clearly, ever faster and irreversibly toward the e-car, the end of the internal combustion engine is not an issue in almost the entire rest of the world. And where neither a current marketing campaign is to be accompanied nor negotiations about the next round of government subsidies are imminent, more and more decision-makers in the industry are now daring to come out of the woodwork and speak their minds openly. This was also the case for Marek Reichman, Chief Creative Officer of Aston Martin, in an interview with the Australian magazine Drive.
He does not consider the electrification of the car to be „the solution“ by any means. Reichman sees it only as an evolutionary intermediate step on the way to „zero fuels“ such as biofuel and hydrogen. There are a number of hurdles, he says, that prevent the electric drive from competing with the combustion engine, which has proven itself for over a hundred years:
- Charging in two minutes, as we are used to at gas stations, will never happen.
- Where will the raw materials for millions of batteries come from? And every year?
- The national power grids and the electrical infrastructure are unsuitable for this new consumer; neither charging stations nor charging in the home garage can change anything within the existing grids.
According to Reichman, PtG and PtL (biofuels, e-fuels and hydrogen) offer the greater potential to become a long-term energy source for transportation. The internal combustion engine is still reviled, he said, but that will change once zero-emission fuels become available.
Reichman is not alone in this assessment. Virtually all car managers share his opinion. What they tell journalists, on the other hand, depends primarily on whether certain investments for which they are responsible, amounting to billions, have to pay off within the term of their target agreements.
In fact, the major transformation of the auto industry serves the sole purpose of escaping penalties and pocketing subsidies. Basically, all manufacturers expect that the market ramp-up will fail and that the combustion engine will not be replaced. *
There will be several reasons:
- Customers‘ refusal to buy:
More and more prospective buyers have understood that practical ranges at affordable prices will remain a dream, as will charging in two to three minutes. Skepticism is on the rise, as KfW recently discovered to its own astonishment.
- The state’s budget deficit:
An energy transition that plans to scrap almost all infrastructure will trigger shortages of resources of all kinds. There will be a lack of personnel, raw materials, time and money. Subsidies for e-cars will therefore have to be eliminated sooner rather than later.
- The future consensus of scientific publications:
Scientists will then once again point their flags to the wind and henceforth confirm the disastrous inefficiency of electric mobility as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a multitude of government-sponsored commissioned reports.
The high conversion losses are often objected to synfuels. In fact, the green electricity generated in Europe will not be able to cover the energy demand by far.
For economic reasons, only synfuels can be considered as an energy vector for transport from other continents. Additional and non-essential electricity consumers such as e-cars will therefore be supplied predominantly from the combustion of synfuels in thermal power plants. This eliminates the efficiency advantage of electromobility.
* Tesla might not necessarily expect this, but certainly fear it. Managers from Toyota, Mazda and Stellantis have also expressed skepticism. BMW, after all, insists on technological openness.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6f/AMDB5No1.jpg/1024px-AMDB5No1.jpg – from Olli1800