New European Emission Mandates Could Axe 100,000 Jobs, says Volkswagen Boss

Originally, European Parliament pushed for a 40-percent reduction in emissions, later settling on 35.

byRob Stumpf|
New European Emission Mandates Could Axe 100,000 Jobs, says Volkswagen Boss

As the European Union looks to reduce its carbon footprint, a new proposed regulation would require automakers to reduce emissions by 35 percent in the next several years. Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess challenged the regulation, according to CleanTechnica, stating that it would potentially cause layoffs of up to 100,000 workers.

The new EU mandate, if approved, would require passenger cars to reduce emission output at least 35 percent by 2030. Likewise, vans would be required to reduce emissions as well, but at a slightly more relaxed 30 percent. Originally, the European Parliament pushed for a 40 percent reduction figure, however, the above compromise was eventually met after pushback from German automakers.

“Such an industry can crash faster than many believe,” said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. “The transformation in speed and impact is difficult to manage."

A shift this drastic could force many automakers towards electrification earlier than anticipated and unprepared for the hurdles which may come their way. Additionally, if automakers begin to increase their respective demand for current-generation battery technology so soon, raw materials such as lithium could skyrocket in both price and scarcity. VW has made its stake in future solid-state batteries well known, however, the technology is not yet ready for mainstream markets.

Automakers such as Tesla have played their part in pushing towards the electrification of vehicles as well. Tesla's Model 3, despite its lowest currently available price tag costing $49,000, has quickly jumped towards the top of the sales charts, indicating that consumers do have an interest in purchasing new electric vehicles. The unknown factor is if automakers are ready to produce electric cars at scale before the new emissions mandate takes effect if approved. Manufacturers already can't keep up with new fuel economy testing procedures, leading some to have over a 50 percent reduction in sales due to the bottlenecks created by readying their vehicles for mandatory testing and certification.

Historically, Volkswagen and other European automakers have had issues with meeting emission regulations, leading to the notorious Dieselgate scandal in 2015 and subsequent arrest of former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. European antitrust investigators have also opened investigations into several automakers for the alleged collusion of diesel defeat devices, which enabled a plethora of vehicles to falsify emission testing results. Still, Volkswagen has predicted a "diesel renaissance" only last month despite other manufacturers dropping the platform over emission and continued sales concerns.