Germany hopes to put one million electric cars on its roads by the year 2020, but government advisors already predict the country will miss its target if state support is not stepped up soon. EURACTIV Germany reports.
The National Platform for Electro-Mobility (NPE) submitted its annual report to Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday (2 December).
Germany currently has 24,000 electric vehicles on its roads, of which almost 8,000 were approved within the first 8 months of 2014, the report said.
The document also features proposals for the coming market launch phase (2015-2017), advising Germany over how to reach its self-defined goals by 2020 and become a leading international supplier and market for electro-mobility.
In September, Merkel’s cabinet signed off on Germany’s electro-mobility law. The measure includes plans for new rules on parking and stopping, the use of bus lanes and removal of access restrictions. The law is expected to take effect on 1 February 2015.
According to the NPE the market preparation phase has seen Germany move toward becoming a leading supplier of electric cars, with 17 vehicle models from its own domestic car makers. In 2015, German producers are expected to put 12 more series models onto the market, the report indicated.
“We are well on our way to becoming a leading supplier. But at the moment we are only in the medium-range with regard to our goal of becoming a lead market,” said Henning Kagermann, president of acatech and chairman of the NPE.
Indeed, with its 24,000 vehicles, 4,800 normal charging stations and 100 express charging stations, Germany is just average.
More charging stations and tax write-offs
The NPE chairman argued Germany will only reach the one-million-target if additional monetary and non-monetary incentives are introduced.
Price, scope and charging infrastructure are central factors for a successful market launch, Kagermann said, because they substantially influence the acceptance of electro-mobility among users.
“We are happy to see growth in the supply range of vehicles,” said Merkel on Tuesday (2 December) explaining that the German government is performing well with regard to purchasing incentives. “Every year, 10% of [Germany’s] new vehicles are electrically powered. By means of rebates on private and company car taxes, we have created incentives to buy.”
In its report, the NPE recommends introducing a special write-off (Sonder-AfA) for commercial users. Fleets and commercial vehicles make up 60% of the market for new vehicle purchases, and could open the door to more widespread electro-mobility, the report indicates.
An increasing number of vehicles also requires a higher number of publicly accessible charging stations. Here, the NPE recommends a combination of private and public investment to expand electro-mobility infrastructure.
In the interest of creating a customer-friendly environment with publicly accessible charging infrastructure, the NPE’s report says providers should ensure handicapped access and make ad hoc charging possible.
“No other country” has a comparable selection
Matthias Wissman, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), indicated that German providers are leaders in electro-mobility.
“No other country has such a large selection of electric models for car buyers,” said Wissmann. Over the last few years, alone, manufacturers and suppliers invested around €12 billion in research and development for electro-mobility.
To maintain this rate of innovation, “there should be continued support for the industry’s enormous efforts as well as further funding for research and development projects,” the VDA president emphasised.
The international comparison conducted by the NPE shows the diversity of instruments that can be used to promote electro-mobility. They include monetary incentives like buyer’s premiums and tax rebates, as well as breaking down everyday obstacles like charging at work, or reserved parking spaces near charging stations.
These incentive packages are different in each country and are based on local, economic and ecological conditions as well as political requirements and goals. For this reason, Kagermann said, strategies cannot simply be copied from one country to another. Still, he indicated that the planned electro-mobility law is a step in the right direction and must now be quickly implemented.
The NPE consists of representatives from the scientific community, industry, politics and municipalities as well as consumers. It goal is to come up with concrete proposals for reaching targets in the national development plan on electro-mobility.
Chancellor Angela Merkel created the NPE in 2010 to drive electro-mobility in Germany and promote the introduction of innovative electric cars onto the market.
The German government sees the transition to new acceleration technologies as a central challenge for mobility in the 21st century. Germany hopes to become a leading market for electro-mobility.
The Electro-Mobility Law is expected to take effect on 1 February 2015. The necessary notification procedure required by the European Commission has been initiated. The law will expire on 30 June 2030. The German government will follow the law through its implementation and evaluate its impact.
- NPE Progress Report 2014 (in German)