Both Porsche and Germany's finance manager are taking heat over biofuels.
We've been covering Porsche's approach to biofuels for some time now. How could you not? Biofuels appear to be the perfect climate-neutral solution to the demise of the gas engine. Keeping your Porsche 911 running on cleaner fuel appeals to just about any auto enthusiast.
However, recent allegations have cast doubt over the program, with German Finance Minister Christain Lindner now under fire and Porsche accused of meddling in Germany's official policy on e-fuels.
Things kicked off on Friday, when the German satirical news show (think John Oliver) "Die Anstalt" displayed a quote, allegedly from Porsche boss Oliver Blume. The quote was from a company meeting back in June. Per Deutsche Welle, Blume repeated a conversation he had with Minister Lindner about Germany's biofuel policy, specifically about what was to be included in Germany's coalition agreement.
Blume's quote, allegedly, said that "We [Porsche] have played a large role in having e-fuels included in the coalition agreement. We were a main driving force, with very close contact with the coalition parties. Christian Lindner has kept me up to date almost every hour over the past few days."
The quote on its own makes it sound as if Porsche has been working to influence biofuel policy in Germany. Should that be true, it could result in massive changes. While this kind of lobbying is standard in the American political system, Germany mandated a lobby register in January of this year, which included a code of conduct.
Blume's backchanneling approach with Lindner could lead to Porsche being found in violation of it, which could mean a $50,000 fine and restriction of access to the Bundestag (German federal parliament). The Minister's team said on Twitter that his "position on e-fuels has been known for years." Lindner recently rejected the EU's internal combustion engine ban, stating that there are "niches for combustion engines."
Porsche issued a statement, stating that the quotes on Die Anstalt were "exaggerations" made in "the context of an internal event." The company's spokesperson went on to say that "the choice of words does not correspond to the facts. The exchange did not take place and there was no influence." Blume also told German media that he "chose the wrong words" when speaking during the event.