Rhein on Energy and Climate

The German government aims to have one million electric vehicles on the roads by 2020. To that end, it grants some € 500 million for the development of battery technology, to be channelled via a “National Platform Electro Mobility” (NPE).

Battery-driven electric vehicles will also be exempt from the vehicle tax for 10 years.

But unlike France or UK Germany has refrained from offering premiums for the purchase of electric vehicles.

The German automotive lobby finds these incentives insufficient. They would only allow the production of 600 000 e-cars until 2020.

  • It requests additional subsidies for installing 150 000 filling stations until 2020.The government should cover about one third of the 1 billion investment required for completing the network.
  • It should also grant subsidies for the use of batteries and accelerated amortisation of e-vehicles.

Climate considerations do not warrant a positive response to such requests.

  • The one million e-vehicle target for 2020 should not be sacrosanct. It does not matter that much if Germany will have produced 0.6 or 1.0 million electric cars until the end of the decade. As long as electricity will not be C02-free, electric cars will not reach much lower C02 emissions than very fuel-efficient cars with conventional diesel engines.
  • The German automotive industry has made super-profits in the last two years. Instead of paying high dividends it should re-invest more profits in the development of electric vehicles, which it has neglected for too long.


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