German Chancellor Merkel says non-electrified cars will be phased out, but won’t say when

2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel, 2012 New York Auto Show

2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel, 2012 New York Auto Show

Governments, particularly in Europe, are under pressure to curb emissions.

In July, both France and the United Kingdom agreed to ban the sale of cars powered solely by gasoline or diesel by 2040.

But the government in Germany, a country perhaps more closely linked with its auto industry than any other, is understandably less reluctant to follow through with a similar ban.

However, it’s likely that even Germany will ultimately come around. That’s the word of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who in a recent interview with Super illu said the moves by France and the U.K. were the correct path, but that it was still too early to say when it would be appropriate to implement.

“I can’t give you a precise year yet, but the approach is the right one,” she said.

Merkel also said that diesel engines, despite the Volkswagen Group’s emissions cheating scandal, were still an ideal solution to curbing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions because of their efficiency. She said the automakers need to introduce “modern diesel engines” that meet all nitrogen oxide (NOx) regulations. The VW Group’s diesel cars featured software that would reduce NOx levels to acceptable levels only during government testing.

Merkel also said that electric car charging infrastructure needed to be built up to help spur the transition to hybrid and electric cars.

Earlier this month, Germany’s transport authority, the KBA, held an emergency meeting with the BMW Group, Daimler and the VW Group. The automakers agreed to upgrade around five million diesel cars with software aimed at reducing NOx emissions by between 25 and 30 percent, including in some older cars. The automakers also agreed to participate in a fund to promote sustainable transport in cities.

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