Motorists want Clean ICE Subsidies, Bosch Survey Reveals

Nearly three-quarters of motorists surveyed by Bosch in Europe believe clean ICE technology merits the same government grants as EV powertrains.

The automotive supply giant’s survey of in June 2020 reveals no powertrain types have lost any of their relevance – whether batteries or fuel cells, gasoline or diesel engines. If the 2,500 survey respondents in Germany, France, Italy, and the UK had to decide on a new car tomorrow, one in two would opt for a stand-alone combustion engine for their primary car and around one in three for their second car. However, when asked what would be the most prevalently used powertrain in 2030, some 68% of those polled see the electrical powertrain in pole position, ahead of hybrids and combustion engines. Survey participants acknowledged the potential of fuel cell-powered cars, with around one in three seeing the fuel cell as the future of mobility.

When asked whether they favor incentives for vehicles equipped solely with combustion engines, in addition to the many government subsidies for electric cars and plug-in hybrids, 70% said they were in favor. The number of respondents in favor of government incentives to buy new cars with a conventional powertrain is highest in Italy at 83%, and lowest in the United Kingdom at 60%. In France, 77% are in favor; in Germany, 62%.

Despite clean air lobby pressures, 72% of city dwellers believe the combustion engine merits a subsidy while 80% of 18-to-29 year-olds also endorse incentives for cars ICE. Bosch points out that even cars with conventional engines can run in a climate-neutral way. The key to this is renewable synthetic fuels (RSF), which are made from renewable hydrogen and CO₂ captured from the surrounding air. On average, 57% of those taking part in the Bosch survey agreed that RSF should benefit from tax breaks.

Dr Stefan Hartung, member of the Robert Bosch GmbH board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector, said: “There’s just no way around renewable synthetic fuels if we want to achieve our climate targets. Only with RSF can the more than one billion vehicles already on the road worldwide help contain global warming.”

Just under one-third of Europeans would like to see subsidies run to at least €9,000 ($10,623). This is the same as the maximum rebate currently offered by the German government for the purchase of an electric car.

Hartung added: “Incentivizing modern combustion engines can accelerate the vehicle fleet’s renewal, which would also help the environment and the climate.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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