Big changes are happening at a rapid pace in today’s auto industry, and it can become quite a task at times to keep up. So, we’ll just cut right to it: Reuters recently spoke with major supplier Continental CFO Wolfgang Schaefer about the latest happenings in the business, specifically when it comes to the German automakers. You’d think this would be a boring conversation, right? Not so fast. Schaefer believes companies like Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW are likely to stop developing new combustion engines in as little as six years.
Doing so would allow them to focus on electric cars and autonomous driving technology. "A new generation of combustion engines will again be developed but after that (around 2023), a further development will no longer be economically justifiable because more and more work will switch into electric mobility," Schaefer told Reuters. All of these automakers, especially VW, are facing a lot of pressure to repair their images following Dieselgate, and ditching diesel will likely be just the beginning. Remember, the UK just announced plans to ban the sales of new diesel and gasoline cars beginning in 2040, and it’s only a matter of time until other countries make similar policy decisions.
In the meantime, these aforementioned automakers just struck a deal with the German government to overhaul engine software on 5.3 million diesel cars in order to reduce pollution. That won’t be good enough for many environmental activists, and they’re expected to continue pursuing legal action to ban polluting vehicles sooner rather than later. Their quest isn’t falling on deaf ears, hence these automakers already laying the initial groundwork. One example was Volkswagen Group’s Sedric Concept at Geneva last March. This fully electric autonomous box of sorts is just the beginning of what VW has in mind post-2023. It’ll be fascinating to see what the others come up with.