When Carl Benz patented the “vehicle powered by a gas engine” in 1886, he did not foresee the day when German lawmakers would edge seriously towards a ban on the internal combustion engine.


While there’s some lawmaking distance to travel before any ban takes legal effect, consider the consequences for Germany.  And consider the source of the recommendation, and the gravitas it provides.

According to Forbes.com, and its automotive writer Bertel Schmitt:

Diesel and gasoline-powered vehicles officially are an endangered species in Germany, and possibly all of the EU. This after Germany’s Bundesrat has passed a resolution to ban the internal combustion engine starting in 2030, Germany’s Spiegel Magazin writes. Higher taxes may hasten the ICE’s departure.

An across-the-aisle Bundesrat resolution calls on the EU Commission in Brussels to pass directives assuring that “latest in 2030, only zero-emission passenger vehicles will be approved” for use on EU roads. Germany’s Bundesrat is a legislative body representing the sixteen states of Germany. On its own, the resolution has no legislative effect. EU type approval is regulated on the EU level. However, German regulations traditionally have shaped EU and UNECE regulations.

Adapted from Ixpos.DE and “Germany Trade and Invest“:   Germany’s automotive industry is the third biggest in the world (after China and Japan, counting passenger cars), and is the biggest industrial sector in Germany. Automobile manufacturing and related businesses employ 774,900 German workers and, at ~404B Euros, provide around 20% of German industry revenue. It’s no boutique business.

Germany automotive R&D expenditures are around 24B Euros per year, a third of it’s total R&D investment. And, it seems, they may soon have ambitious goals to put sharp focus into that work. It’s a great spur to innovation.

Further, around 77% of production is sold internationally. Production relies upon suppliers and OEM’s worldwide.  This means that changes to Germany’s car design principles and the resulting new manufacturing technologies will quickly become known and available worldwide. It’s no local phenomenon.

The country is also Europe’s top automobile market, and U.S.-based manufacturers do big business there as well. General Motors sold 244,000 vehicles in Germany in 2015, while Ford is on track to sell 280,000 vehicles this year.  Everyone making and selling cars will feel the effects of this change.