Industry and society need to move to away from fossil fuels even faster than planned, warned Markus Duesmann, CEO of AUDI AG, at a recent industry leader panel hosted by the Bavarian Media Group of journalists.
“Our generation’s task is to make sure future generations will be able to do without fossil fuels. To meet this goal, we need technological innovations now,” Duesmann added.
Moderated by German journalist and author Gabor Steingart, the panel also included Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, and Joe Kaeser, board chairman at Siemens Energy.
Duesmann discussed his vision of sustainable mobility and the challenges the automotive industry currently faces. Citing the need for swifter transitioning to alternative energy sources, he said, “The expansion of renewable energies and the transition to e-mobility are major steps on our path toward an electricity-based society.”
No matter the area of sustainability – e-mobility in transport, e-fuels in aviation or hydrogen in trucks – “We need to set clear technology priorities. In other words, we need cross-industry understanding of how each sector will leverage technology to achieve carbon neutrality overall,” Duesmann said.
Electric cars retain a larger carbon footprint from their more energy-intensive production, Duesmann pointed out. “That's where we focus on reducing carbon emissions over the entire product life cycle. For example, through net-zero production or the use of green energy in battery production. The availability of renewable energy is therefore another crucial factor in determining how ‘green’ e-mobility is.”
Signaling the carmaker’s commitment to production in Germany, the Audi CEO also noted Germany’s role in sustainability technology “We are not strong because we build the technologies in Germany, but because we develop them here. Sustainable technologies ‘made in Germany’ in particular allow us to become pioneers and assert our economic strength at an international level.”
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