German carmakers agree to cut emissions amid increasing political pressure

Leading German carmakers struck a deal to cut emissions following the launch of Tesla’s latest model of electric car

  • By Luján Scarpinelli | Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced criticism for her close relationship with the automotive industry

On August 2, German authorities announced they had agreed a plan with major carmakers Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen and Opel, to overhaul the engine software of 5.3 million diesel cars. The deal represents an attempt to repair the industry’s damaged reputation following the Volkswagen emissions scandal in 2015, and will seek to cut the level of pollution currently produced by diesel cars.

The announcement coincides with the unveiling of Tesla’s long-anticipated Model 3, an electric car competitively priced between $35,000 and $44,000. The company’s latest model has already secured more than 455,000 reservations, and is set to be available to the public by the end of the year.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced criticism for not doing enough to curb Germany’s pollution levels, and is considered to be too close to the automotive industry

The software upgrade comes as part of wider campaign, launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to tackle pollution. According to Reuters, Merkel has faced criticism for not doing enough to curb Germany’s pollution levels, and is considered to be too close to the automotive industry – the country’s biggest exporter.

Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the announcement represented the first step in the government’s plans for reform, and refused to rule out a blanket ban of diesel cars in the future.

Meanwhile, German executives are set to announce a new lithium-ion battery plant to rival the output of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1, which opened in the US earlier this year.