"Environmental protection is the top priority for Volkswagen". So says the blurb for VW’s latest PR initiative. But according to a story in yesterday’s Guardian newspaper it seems no one told their lobbyists…
The story reveals that the VDA, the lobby group that represents VW along with fellow German carmakers BMW and Daimler, wants to make a big hole in a proposed EU law to control CO2 emissions from even bigger cars.
The EU is already proposing that car companies receive "supercredits". These would allow them to produce gas guzzlers that exceed EU fuel efficiency targets without being penalised, if they also make a few electric cars.
This is idea doesn't make sense, as it just encourages car companies to continue business as usual, rather than building existing fuel efficient technology into their car fleets.
But now the VDA are saying they must have more supercredits, and that the EU law just isn't realistic because it means companies will have to produce lots of electric cars.
This just isn't true. Study after study (pdf) shows that car companies don't need to build electric cars to comply with the law. VW can just tweak its engines and reduce the weight of its cars and they will get there.
And what would this industry plan mean for us? If VW’s lobbyists get their way we'll end up paying more for our fuel and have higher carbon emissions.
Now is the time to hold VW to its green claims. Next month VW managers from across the world will meet up in Germany. Let’s send them the message they need to get real and accept a strong EU fuel efficiency law.