To be able to move wherever you want at any time, without agreement or timetable, is an excellent kind of freedom. To be free from the nuisance of the world around you, to be able to choose the temperature and music yourself, and to be able to direct not two, four or ten but hundreds of horsepower at the touch of a pedal is an immediate power that was just reserved for the very few rulers. This promise of freedom and self-realisation is made by the car system and has us firmly in its grip: from the lifestyle of a commuter with a house in the countryside to the gross national product, everything seems to depend on four wheels. We open the bonnet and expand the on-board tools!
In 1992, the settlement and transport-related area in Germany comprised about 40,305 km2 - by 2016 it had risen by 22.2% to 49,254 km2. During the same period, the number of registered vehicles increased by 30% from 42.0 million to 54.6 million. The
is the automobile consensus, which propagates a life in the countryside, establishes single-family houses, transforms medieval towns into car-friendly ones, creates a bypass road for every village and guarantees a 30-minute highway connection.
Glyphosat wird im Kombinationspräparat "Roundup" großflächig in der Landwirtschaft zur Unkrautvernichtung auf dem Acker eingesetzt. Wie Glyphosat auf die Organismen von Menschen und Tieren wirkt, ist nicht genau geklärt. Die Internationale Agentur für Krebsforschung klassifizierte den Stoff 2015 als "wahrscheinlich krebserregend für den Menschen". Seitdem wird gestritten über die Zulassung von Glyphosat in der Landwirtschaft, beide Seiten präsentieren Studien und Meta-Studien, die die Schädlichkeit bzw. Unschädlichkeit belegen sollen. Wissenschaftliche Objektivität und Eindeutigkeit verschwinden zusehends und jede_r hört den
not only for ourselves but also for third parties.
The focus on motorized individual transportation demands that individuals arrange their own means of transportation. Community mobility and mobility justice are thus completely forgotten. When the number of people using buses and trains continuously declines, the
cuts transit frequency, number of stops and routes for "purely economic" reasons - to the point that entire regions are cut off from public transportation forcing people to drive their own cars - if they have one.
The movement of every person usually begins on their hands and knees, followed by on their own feet, and remains that way for thousands of years. An individual’s radius of displacement was thus limited to one's own willingness and ability to walk. The domestication of animals as a means of transportation brought with it the expansion of one’s radius of displacement, albeit only for a small group of people. However, the invention and spread of the automobile during the 20th century in Europe made long-distance mobility part of everyday life for the majority of the population. Mobility was democratized. The downside is extensive and permanent interventions with the natural world; people may be able to get to a faraway place more quickly, but they often only stay there for a short time. The analysis shows that in the case of mobility, the individual coordinates of the
are strongly related and increasingly lead toward an automotive consensus to which all democratic decision-making is subordinated.
Driving a car results in the destruction of forests, people getting poisoned by carbon monoxide, more and more CO2 contributing to climate change, and NOx irritating mucous membranes. The fine dust of tire abrasion introduces toxic heavy metals into the bloodstream,an ever-increasing number of ground surfaces are sealed by wear and tear, and people continue to travel further and further to places where they stay shorter and shorter amounts of time. Last but not least, travelling by car continues to be a leading cause of death. All these problems can be solved by
, that is, by using even newer technology such as unleaded petrol, controlled catalytic converters, AdBlue, alternative tyre compounds, airbags, autonomous driving and more air travel. Confusingly, the simple, obvious, non-technical solution of simply driving less is completely overlooked.
Society's global acceptance of the automobile brings with it its full
and oppresses almost all other concerns. As a result, cars are putting more and more weight on the road. While the Volkswagen Golf I weighed a lean 805 kg in its first year of 1974, the current Golf VII weighs 1615 kg. In the same period, the global passenger car population more than tripled from 314 million to over 1 billion. The ten largest automobile manufacturers thus achieve an annual revenue of 1,391 billion euros with a profit of 86 billion Euros, while the ten largest suppliers generate another 288 billion Euros and a profit of 16 billion Euros. And to ensure that cars can drive at all, the ten largest oil companies are turning over another 1,730 billion Euros with a profit of 81 billion Euros.
"Dear Angela,

...from the perspective of the automotive industry, these objections are all the more valid as we are letting our high-performance premium segment, which accounts for almost 60 percent of the jobs of our German automobile manufacturers, literally "break down" by means of the arbitrarily set
- Yours Matthias Wissmann
President of the Association of the Automotive Industry
former Federal Minister of Transport
One motor per car is no longer sufficient, as more and more electric motors are now being added to open and close windows, trunks and even doors at the touch of a button. With every additional engine, driving apparently becomes more enjoyable, especially when more than 1,000 hp are at one's disposal. With this in mind, it may come as no surprise that the simple commuter route in Germany has risen by 21% within the last 15 years, from 8.7 km to 10.5 km. The engineers of this
commute furthest of all, with the average being about 18.5 km. However, they are hardly cruising blissfully along unoccupied roads; rather, they are stuck in traffic jams with everyone else.
Due to the manipulation of exhaust gas values in diesel vehicles, nitrogen oxides are a dominant topic of (car) mobility in the public debate. However, this is deceptive; an entire system of individualized motor mobility is being upheld for only a few convenience benefits. This automotive consensus is essentially based on non-renewable raw materials and the car-compatible shaping of entire landscapes - both of which will hardly change because of individual electric mobility. Raw materials will only be used for a short time and then disposed of permanently in the atmosphere or at the scrap yard. Just like the
, there will still be silent witnesses of human automobile-ism in millions of years to come.
The German automotive industry has the most magnificent
. Across all employees, only 14% of the workforce do not identify as male. The more important the department, the more male the workforce becomes. For example, 92.5 % of the employees in the research and development departments are male, resulting in only 7.5 % of the employees identifying with different gender. Until 2010, not a single woman was represented on the boards of German automakers, and in 2018 only 4 out of 24 board members were female, a mere 16.7%. The automobile, and with it the promotion of motorised individual transport, is therefore not a "neutral" technology - it is completely dominated by men.
Cars are no longer simple machines. The less we try to impact nature with large-scale technology, e.g. by using air pollution control, or the more we try to isolate ourselves from nature, e.g. by regulating interior temperature, the more we end up consuming and needing to manipulate nature. In both cases, completely new material cycles are required, which in turn require input products and result in output products. Resource consumption thus increases or is delayed, but in both cases the
tightens instead of becoming looser.
Transport and transportation policy is not driven by just one person - rather, many people use vehicles. Automobile companies naturally have an economic interest in increasing the proportion of the population who uses vehicles. In efforts to challenge the automotive consensus, a similarly large proportion of the population needs to leave their
by teaming up and acting together. One example is the Berlin referendum on bicycles. A campaign was carried out by a team of about 100 volunteers who in turn relied on hundreds of supporters. This was the only way to collect more than 105,425 signatures within three and a half weeks. After this sensational success, the team made sure that the people's initiative became a mobility law, which now needs to be constantly and critically monitored in its implementation.
Quite a few employees in the automotive industry have come to terms with the Zorro morality: during the day, working on the latest luxury class car, and in the evening participating in a grassroots rally for a car-free city center - et voilà: The
. The technical abilities are only used at a well paid, safe job, while the personal value and moral perceptions must take place on one's own time as a recreational activity.
If we want to reduce the
of the CO₂ emissions of our car fleet [...not only by 30 but by 40 percent...], more than half of the vehicles in our fleet would have to be purely electric by 2030. It would be almost impossible to manage the transformation at this speed and with its consequences, since in a good ten years, about a quarter of the jobs in our plants would have to be cut - a total of around 100,000 jobs.
- Herbert Diess
Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer'
Before the diesel scandal began, Karsten von Bruch, an engineer in exhaust gas treatment at Bosch, wrote to his divisional executive on the company's intranet: "We both know that outside of the test cycles, components such as the AdBlue dosage were throttled because it would have required too much of it. But this is where most of the nitrogen oxides are produced. And that's why this is a very deliberate label fraud, to put it diplomatically". The diesel scandal then took its course and the CEO of Bosch replied: "We must now work together for diesel and its benefits." A little later, Karsten von Bruch was put in his personal
and got fired.
Interviewer: "Mr. Luhmann, when it comes to the diesel scandal..." - Hans-Jochen Luhmann: "Sorry, I have to correct your assessment of the situation right away [or apply a
]. This is about failure, of which the so-called diesel scandal is an impact. It is a systematic failure of the Federal Motor Transport Authorities in Europe. They don't implement the requirements of EU legislators, and the Member States allow this to happen. All of the necessary vehicle specifications thus go unchecked, not just the detail of "diesel exhaust gases". The infamous "diesel scandal" is comparable to themes raised in Elisabeth Wehling's wonderful book, on how a nation talks itself into thinking - and how, in turn, this can influence policy decisions. The intention of this creation of words is to help to establish a precise focus in order to remove other things from the scope of our attention.. If we take a closer look, a whole chain of loopholes may come to light. For example, there were noticeable differences between the nitrogen oxide values of diesel vehicles and the gradual divergence between target and actual values. A difference of 30 percent for Euro 2 to 700 percent for Euro 6 can also be seen in the data on CO2 emissions, including for gasoline engines. Car manufacturers even cheat about noise emissions. We're not at the end, we're still at the beginning."