There’s no point forcing automakers to only produce EVs if customers are not buying them.
Lutz Meschke, Porsche’s Chief Financial Officer, says that he thinks Europe’s combustion ban may be delayed once again. While a recent study has shown that the gains in combustion efficiency have been offset by increasing wweight and other factors, Europe still has not committed to a position on ending emissions. In fact, its most recent decision was to water down the regulations for most passenger vehicles while adopting stricter rules for heavy vehicles like buses and trucks.
“There’s a lot of discussions right now around the end of the combustion engine (sic),” said Meschke on Thursday, reports Bloomberg. “I think it could be delayed.”
When British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced his nation’s delay in enacting the combustion ban (to 2035, for the record), he noted high upfront costs for buyers and a lack of charging infrastructure as the key reasons that the average person should not be forced into buying an electric car.
Similar reasons appear to be behind Europe’s hesitancy; the bloc’s uptake of EVs has not been high enough to suggest that it will reach its electrification goals, and incentives are being withdrawn. Meschke specifically noted that while Porsche customers don’t need incentives to afford an EV, the average consumer does.
“If we have a situation like now, with certain reluctance to buy electric cars in Europe, then maybe the subsidies will come back,” added the CFO.
The situation in Europe is fascinating. Automakers like BMW have been very vocal about abandoning combustion and Germany has been adamant that the technology should be allowed to live on with the help of synthetic fuels. At the same time, Chinese EVs are flooding the market, suggesting that there isn’t a shortage of affordable electric cars, only a shortage of European-made ones.
This calls into question whether the electrification issue is one of feasibility or one of simple political economics.
Regardless of the reasoning and regardless of the eventual outcome, Porsche, for one, will be prepared. It has just launched its first-ever all-electric crossover based on the Macan, one of its best-selling vehicles. On the other end of the scale, the naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six continues to evolve and become more efficient.
And somewhere in the middle, Porsche is developing brilliant hybrids. Whatever Europe decides, Stuttgart’s sports cars aren’t going anywhere.