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Brussels warns the automotive industry: “Diesel is a technology of the past”

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The Commissioner of Industry warns manufacturers: “Who does not adapt will disappear”

In the evolution of the species that Brussels peeks at, Homo diesel appears condemned to extinction. The Commissioner of Industry, Elzbieta Bienkowska, denies her status as a prophet, but in a sector such as the automobile, dependent on technological changes, Polish politics has assumed the role of preacher of the new Homo eléctricus. “It does not matter if there are German manufacturers and consumers that love them. The diesel will disappear. And it will do it faster than we think. It is technology of the past, “he said on Thursday in an interview with several European media, including EL PAÍS. Bienkowska warns of what is coming on the manufacturers that do not react on time. “If we are not fast enough now, zero emission and electric cars will be produced by someone from outside Europe. Although now we are a powerful industry, who does not adapt will disappear from the market, “he predicted.

In a sector that employs around 12 million workers in the EU between direct and indirect jobs, one of the big questions is whether that labor force will remain active with the change that is coming, accompanied by a robotization of production chains . “I can not say that the number of jobs will be the same, companies should prepare for a massive update of the capabilities of their employees,” he says.

The scenario drawn by the curator presents China and the United States as the great competitors. The Asian giant has already introduced a mandatory quota by which manufacturers must produce 10% of electric cars. A movement that is seen with concern. “Everything our competitors do is a challenge, we want to keep production in Europe and not buy electric cars in China in 2030.”

The European Commission is not in favor of establishing quotas or prohibiting diesel so as not to harm consumers who have already acquired a vehicle of this type, but believes that the future of this fuel is already written. And that the transformation of urban transport is an inevitable reality. “The revolution we are experiencing is faster than any other revolution previously experienced in the history of humanity,” says Bienkowska.

The commissioner expects great changes in the near future, not exceeding a decade. In addition, it considers that brands can not ignore phenomena such as the increasing use of shared car platforms, the rise of the circular economy represented by companies such as Uber or the expansion of the electric and autonomous car. “Of course there are lobbies that try to prolong the current model over time, but this change is driven by society, with the dieselgate the desire to have cleaner cars has grown, especially among young people.”

The long-term objectives of the Commission are there: emissions in 2025 must be 15% lower than those issued by the European vehicle fleet in 2021, and 30% lower in 2030 compared to the same year. Fraud by brands is now more complicated. Since 1 September, emission controls have been reinforced throughout the European Union: the new models have to pass tests under real driving conditions and pass an improved test in the laboratory.

Reproach Volkswagen for the ‘dieselgate’

The Commissioner for Industry, Elzbieta Bienkowska, considers insufficient the commitment of Volkswagen to review the millions of vehicles affected by emissions fraud. “I’m not asking for the same compensation as in the United States, impossible in Europe, even legally. But I think the way the company handled the crisis is certainly not an example. ”

The German company offered to each customer affected by the dieselgate in the USA about 5,000 dollars (4,250 euros). In Europe, on the other hand, he simply sent them a letter warning that they could go and replace the system. Bienkowska believes that the German industry has learned the lesson, and this has served as a kind of humility cure for the entire sector. “I have the impression that before they thought they could do what they wanted. Luckily, they do not think about it now. ”

THE WORLD – Álvaro Sánchez – Brussels -16 NOV 2017 (Translation Soft)

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