Germany: Merkel praises new VW electric car as environmental reform faces flak

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke at Volkswagen's rehabilitated Zwickau plant marking the production beginning of the brand's first mass-market, battery-only technology vehicle on Monday. «Today we can happily say that Zwickau is a cornerstone of German automotive tradition but will also be a cornerstone for the future of the automotive industry,» said Merkel. She re-stated the government's... Еще aim of having «between seven to ten million electric cars and one million public charging stations by 2030.» «We need cars that are not only ecofriendly but that are also safe, that are comfortable and have performance,» Merkel said, adding that she is «confident the Saxons» will not disappoint Volkswagen and Germany. Merkel's speech underlined what is at stake with this project both for Berlin as for Volkswagen, with Merkel having previously come under fire for being too soft on the auto industry as well as for failing to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen Group Herbert Diess on the other hand is having to orchestrate the complex shift to electric vehicles without putting the brand at risk. The climate protection measures aim to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions, though climate activists criticised the plan as too weak to achieve Germany's emissions-free target by 2050. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to pass the bill into law this year.
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