Germany's autobahns have long been a favourite of drivers from around the world, but red-lining the speedo could be a thing of the past under proposed new laws which would cap drives at 130km/h.
While this speed currently serves as an 'advisory' limit on just over half of the 12,900km motorway network, a government panel is considering introducing 130km/h as an autobahn-wide limit, according to a leaked report – a controversial move which would mark the end of Germany’s famous open-road policy.
While roadworks and other restrictions continually taper driving speeds along the motorways, the absence of speed limits enhances Germany’s reputation both as a maker of high-performance cars and as a nation that lets customers drive them.
Environmentalists backed by the Green Party have been at loggerheads with the German Association of the Automotive Industry lobby for years over the open road policy.
In a front-page headline on Saturday, the tabloid Bild Zeitung blasted the proposals as a “mad” shock to all car drivers.
“Our autobahnen (motorways) are a symbol of freedom. ‘Tested on German autobahn’ is a quality seal,” the paper said in a leader column. “There are enough speed limits.”
The proposals are being considered to comply with new laws aiming to cut emissions in all sectors of the German economy. As a signatory of the Paris Climate accord, Germany must slash emissions from energy, industry, heating and cooling and farming by 2030.
Full-electric and hybrid passenger cars accounted for only 2 percent of all German road registrations in 2018, but Germany has an ambitious goal to get one million electric vehicles on its road by 2020, with EV and hybrids representing half of all new registrations by 2030.