Electric edition, tax attack & the Eagles are coming

Your weekly update of all things transport

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants 1 million electric car charging points by 2030 to help increase sales. The government will also increase subsidies on cheaper cars from €4k to €6k, with the industry helping to cover the cost increase.

Merkel was also on hand to see the first VW car roll off the production line of a new all-electric factory that used to produce only petrol and diesels.

That repurposed facility in central Germany will produce 100,000 cars next year and ramp up to its full capacity of 330,000 in 2021. The factory is highly automated and €1.2bn was spent on converting it.

VW is also working on the assumption that the UK will leave the EU, which might prove crucial to CO2 targets, as they will have to be recalculated if Brexit actually happens.

Tesla’s Model 3 firmly established itself among the top-selling executive saloon cars, narrowly falling short of matching Audi’s market offering in Q3, with 80k sales.

Range anxiety is one of the factors holding EV sales back but a new battery design pioneered by US researchers claims to have reduced a full charging cycle from more than an hour to 10 minutes.

Worse news for Swedish bus and truck-maker Scania though, which announced job cuts and a fall-off of orders. Production will be scaled back and employee Christmas holidays look set to be extended.

Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot are closing in on their multi-billion euro merger. Full details are yet to be brokered but the French government is on board with it. A lack of support in Paris helped torpedo a potential tie-up with Renault earlier this year.

EU countries have to make sure a certain amount of transport is fuelled from renewable sources but how do you actually get that done? There are some good ideas in this op-ed by mobility expert Geert De Cock.

Romania finally has a government and MEP Siegfried Mureșan is in pole position to get the nod as Commissioner candidate. He may end up with the transport gig. First on his agenda might be this road in his home country that literally leads nowhere.

In Germany, an ambitious plan to tax plane tickets more and use the money to improve the railways has been attacked by US airlines. A lobby group has told the European Commission that the idea is illegal and undermines a global aviation agreement.

Transport committee head Karima Delli is still committed to imposing an EU tax on kerosene. The French MEP told EURACTIV Slovakia in an interview that jet fuel represents a tax haven for airlines.

Aviation emissions are a headache for many. This industry expert acknowledged that carbon-neutral flying is already technically feasible but the costs involved are simply too high for any one company to take the leap.

US aerospace giant Boeing, still waiting for its grounded MAX aircraft to return to the skies following two deadly crashes, saw its order book suffer in Asia, as Airbus reaped the rewards instead. The EU champion netted 350 orders versus Boeing’s 16. 

In shipping news, top executives have urged any taxation of emissions in the sector to funnel revenues into developing cleaner fuels. It is unlikely shipping will be included in the ETS anytime soon but this signal from the industry could change the likelihood.

Russian scientists were shocked by the size of their monthly phone bill until they realised that the eagles they were tracking with SMS transmitters flew further afield that expected. Two of the birds ended up in Iran and Pakistan.

What else I’m reading…

  • Why France backs the Fiat-Chrysler, Peugeot merger [Bloomberg]
  • F1 revamp to offer greener cars [E&T]
  • Labour explores banning private jets from airports [Guardian]
  • Delhi restricts car use due to toxic smog [DW]

Picture of the week

Formula 1’s next generation of race cars are supposed to make for closer racing and a smaller environmental footprint. They will debut in 2021.

F1 [F1]

Next stops

MEPs on the Parliament’s transport committee meet 6 November. Agenda here.

Romania is likely to unveil its Commissioner pick imminently. Ursula von der Leyen will then have to reveal if Bucharest will keep transport. Stay tuned here.

Europe’s meteorological satellite agency meets on 12 November in Darmstadt to discuss how best to use data from two new satellites.

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