Angela Merkel: Germany Must Invest Heavily In Electric Cars
Chancellor Angela Merkel, while visiting Daimler’s ACCUMOTIVE’s battery plant in Kamenz, said that Germany must invest more heavily into electric vehicles, to ensure the country is not left behind (somewhat ironically, considering the German government’s recent and fairly lackluster EV rebate of up to €4,000 for BEVs/ €3,000 for PHEVs, but 50% cost-split with the OEMs themselves).
As for the sales on the ground, this year has begun great in Germany (relatively speaking), as sales have doubled year-over-year.
However those numbers are off of a low benchmark, and the goal of one million plug-in cars by 2020, set few years ago, is now totally out of reach.
The Chancellor herself came under fire in May when she admitted the target will be missed.
Despite the results to date, Merkel encouraged automakers to invest more in the tech, and also to add battery cell production to the equation. Currently all German manufacturers are using batteries from Asian companies, with a few fractional exceptions.
Even Daimler, which is currently investing $10 billion into building a battery factory solely for assembling the packs.
“We need long-term horizons and companies that invest in the future. It is important that electric mobility is ready for the market as quickly as possible.”
“Merkel said new technologies sometimes take time to get off the ground and end up being exploited by those other than their original inventors, citing the example of German engineer Konrad Zuse, who developed the first programmable computer in 1941.”
“”This should be a lesson for technology policy. We don’t want to experience that again,” she said.”
Other German groups are also shifting strategies to focus on plug-ins.
Volkswagen is preparing for a big push when its new MEB platform will be ready in about a year, while separately Audi and Porsche are also developing their own models on theVW Group shared platforms.
Other German OEM, BMW is already one of the top plug-in manufacturers, with a broad portfolio of 9 plug-ins and even more planned for the near future; hopefully some of them will be serious ‘volume’ offerings.
Angela Merkel noted that the German government has invested 35 million euros into battery research, and she had been briefed about the latest in lithium battery cells, which could allow cars to travel up to 1,000 km (600 miles) without needing to be recharged. Well, that would be something, unlike Germany’s sales projections, if those range numbers turned into a reality.