SUVs

Environmental groups want SUVs banned in strange demand

Just to be clear, a vehicle's body style doesn't dictate its efficiency.

This SUV is actually a hybrid. Not the most efficient vehicle, but hardly the worst.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

While Germany hosts the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, climate groups and environmentalists are waging war against the industry. In a new demand, two high-profile groups have called for governments to ban SUVs to curb emissions and pollutants.

Reuters reported on Monday that Greenpeace and Deutsche Umwelthilfe said the SUV body style should be barred from production, and automakers should cease production of heavy vehicles with internal-combustion engines. At a news conference, the groups said SUVs will remain a "problem child" for activists as long as they "dominate" the industry. Both said smaller electric cars should be a priority.

To be clear, that shift is a reality in some ways. Numerous electric cars are on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show, including the Volkswagen ID 3, Honda e, Mini Cooper SE and various concept cars. Volkswagen also teased the ID 4 electric crossover SUV -- the same body style the climate groups want banned, but this model produces zero emissions. Heck, VW will even said it will offset any dirty parts of the supply chain with investments in climate projects around the world.

Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said the automaker is determined to provide a mobility solution for everyone, but at the end of the day, it's the consumer that decides if they want an electric car or a larger SUV. He also underscored that automakers need to make sure the technology is affordable for buyers and not just for wealthy individuals. Electric cars are notoriously more expensive to build compared to mass-produced internal-combustion engines.

An unnamed spokesperson for the Sand in the Gearbox coalition, which argues cars are not the right form of transportation today, said VW is part of the problem and is only interested in selling more cars.

At this point, electrification has already won the battle. Numerous automakers are working to ensure the technology remains somewhat affordable, but make no mistake: hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars are, at this point, the way of the future. No, we haven't seen the change at a wide scale, but come the middle of next decade, the landscape may look far different.

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