Cities against diesel
Hamburg is set to invest mostly in Chinese buses as it becomes the first German city to introduce a diesel ban on vehicles. The move against diesel comes after a federal court recently ruled that metros could introduce their own independent restrictions on urban traffic, although auto makers and other industry lobby groups, and some politicians, made it clear they were against such bans.
The city’s initial sanction is hardly severe given that it applies to 580-metre stretch on one road, and a 1,600-metre stretch on another, as the Hamburg authorities attempt to cut high emission levels at those locations. In addition, people living in the affected areas, as well as their visitors, plus assorted service and delivery vehicles will be exempt from the ban. However, the restrictions will clearly set an example for a number of German cities that also want to get tough on diesel.
Hamburg officials also want their municipal bus fleet to be emissions-free by as soon as 2020 and would like to buy German vehicles to do the job. That, though, is unlikely given that domestic auto makers have done little to develop vehicles running on alternative fuels – in fact, VW said last year that it’s electric buses would only be ready in 2022, which is two years after Hamburg’s deadline.
And that’s why the city expects to get most of its new buses from China, with market leader BYD set to profit most - the company rolled out its first bus back in 2010. There were 90,000 electric bus sales in China last year.
VW last week said it was placing bets on a ‘diesel renaissance’. This is the company which gave the world Dieselgate and has so far paid $25bn in fines, penalties and restitution payments due to the deployment of a defeat device to cover up high vehicle emissions.