EU consumers might do as much as regulators to propel the region’s car sector into the electricity-powered age foreseen by Tesla Inc, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elzbieta Bienkowska said.
She said that the EU has had a “breakthrough moment” since Germany-based Volkswagen AG admitted in 2015 that it fitted diesel engines with software to cheat US checks on smog-causing discharges of nitrogen oxides.
This deeply affected “the emotions in society toward emissions and cleaner cars,” she said.
“Diesel cars are finished,” Bienkowska said in an interview on Thursday in her ninth-floor Brussels office. “I think in several years they will completely disappear. This is the technology of the past.”
The emissions scandal could help the EU gear up for a technological revolution in road transport. Europe is seeking to retain leadership in the worldwide market for passenger cars in the face of competition from the US, where Tesla is based, and China, which accounts for about half of electric-vehicle sales.
Volkswagen’s cheating, which the US uncovered, leading Germany to order an EU-wide recall of 8.5 million Volkswagen vehicles, pushed the world’s No. 1 carmaker into a crisis and left policy makers in Europe scrambling to patch up regulatory holes that threatened a “clean-diesel” strategy dating to the 1990s.
Bienkowska’s services were subsequently notified of possible engine-management irregularities in more diesel cars, including some made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
The issue has been politically thorny in Europe, because around half the cars in the union are powered by diesel — which causes more urban pollution than gasoline, while having less global-warming impact — and because many member states have struggled to meet clean-air goals meant to reduce sickness and premature deaths.
“People have realized that we will never have completely clean — without NOx — diesel cars,” Bienkowska said.
Last week, EU governments backed a revamp of the rules for authorizing car models in the 28-nation bloc.
The European Commission, the union’s executive, won the power to fine automakers up to 30,000 euros (US$35,122) per faulty car and order recalls as part of more centralized market oversight, becoming more like the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Adding to the optimism is an initiative by the commission and industry to spur the development in Europe of batteries for electric cars, including through financing. European companies seeking to get a foothold in the market include BMW AG, Daimler AG, BASF SE and Vattenfall AB.
“We want to have the first batteries produced in Europe, but also the whole value chain,” Bienkowska said. “It’s the kind of a project that a single member state cannot afford.”
NOTABLE SHIFT: By 2030, 50% of all laptops would be assembled in Southeast Asia, while Taiwan would still mostly focus on research and development, a report said Global laptop and desktop computer supply chains are expected to shift significantly away from China in the next 10 years, a Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) report said. By 2030, only 40 percent of global laptop production would remain in China, said the report, which was released on Thursday. “The reshuffling of the global supply chain will be one of the most important trends in the next 10 years,” the institute said in the report. “In the long run, key component makers will follow laptop assemblers in moving out of China.” The Taipei-based institute predicted most key component makers
Merck Group Taiwan yesterday said that it plans to invest substantially on expanding its fab in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) to better serve its local customers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電). The company said it plans to expand its production space by 50 percent in the next five years and its workforce by about 40 percent, Merck Group Taiwan managing director Dick Hsieh (謝志宏) told a media briefing in Taipei. Hsieh declined to disclose investment details, but said that the latest investment would exceed the total amount Merck has invested in Taiwan over the past few years. Those investments would be
Yageo Corp (國巨), the world’s third-largest supplier of multilayer ceramic capacitors, has formed a strategic alliance with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) to develop key electronic components for electric vehicles and digital healthcare, it said yesterday. The alliance is to help Yageo boost its revenue from high-end components for vehicles and industrial, medical and aerospace devices, as well as those used in 5G and Internet-of-Things devices, the company said. The companies signed the strategic alliance agreement at Yageo’s headquarters in New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店). Their cooperation is to start this quarter, the companies said in a joint statement. “Through the cooperation
SUPPLY CONSTRAINTS: The transferred orders might not provide an immediate revenue boost given local chipmakers’ high utilization rates, a senior analyst said Shares of local contract chipmakers yesterday rose as much as the 10 percent daily limit, as investors bet on orders being transferred from Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際) after the US imposed export restrictions on the Chinese chipmaker. United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) shares soared 10 percent to close at NT$27.5 as 380 million shares changed hands on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. UMC is the world’s No. 3 foundry by revenue, followed by SMIC, according to data from market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技). UMC has product and customer portfolios similar to those of SMIC, TrendForce said, adding that UMC offers 14-nanometer and