Germany Lagging Behind Europe In Electric Vehicle Uptake?

3 years ago by Mark Kane 28

2014 Geneva BMW i3 rear 1

2014 Geneva BMW i3 rear

Plug-in registrations in Germany – July 2014

Plug-in registrations in Germany – July 2014

An interesting article on EVs in Germany was recently published by IOL Motoring, indicating that sales are slow compared to other countries in Europe.

Taking into consideration that there is no multiple thousand euro incentive program in place as there almost everywhere else, we think that sales are not that bad in Germany and fortunately sales are growing – its just hard to put things in the proper prospective.

In 2009, Chancellor Angela Merkel set a target of one million electric cars on the road in Germany by 2020. At the end of June there were some 16,900 in use or 4 per 10,000 (according to the source article, in France the figure is 10 EVs per 10,000 automobiles in use).

Curiously, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt still stated:

“We’re confident that we’ll reach that goal.”

Recently, the German government launched a new electromobility initiative to increase sales. Besides exemption from road tax for a period of 10 years (which has a very small impact) draft legislation provides inner-city bus lane access, free parking and charging spots reserved exclusively for electric cars (the last one isn’t an incentive, but rather a normality).

Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, expert at the CAR Center for Automotive Research at Duisburg-Essen University, said that the government target was totally unrealistic.

“…might have just as easily said that we would have 100 000 cars driving on the moon by 2020.”

Moreover there is a lot of skepticism on the new initiatives:

“Lots of towns and cities remain sceptical,” not only about the idea of free parking, but also opening up bus lanes to electric cars, since that could slow down buses.”

“The head of the VDA auto industry association, Matthias Wissmann, believed the measures “aren’t enough and need to be followed up further with tax breaks for electric cars.”

Valerie Wilms, transport spokeswoman for the ecologist opposition Greens commented:

“The government is not acting because German carmakers aren’t sufficiently advanced in this technology.”

“They don’t want to favour (foreign carmakers such as) Renault or Tesla over Mercedes.”

“The government must introduce incentives for people to buy electric cars.”

“If they don’t, electromobility will remain a niche sector.”

Some indicate that low sales comes from lack of charging infrastructure too.

Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer adds that Germans are simply not buying electric car because the high cost, low level of autonomy and the recharging time and that new initiatives tackle none of those problems.

Source: IOL Motoring

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28 responses to "Germany Lagging Behind Europe In Electric Vehicle Uptake?"

  1. vdiv says:

    This is very unfortunate because Germany has a huge influence on the rest of Europe and frankly the whole world on the automotive front. It is also peculiar as the German economy is considered the healthiest and strongest in the EU so the extra cost for adopting EVs would be easier to accept.

    1. Lausbub says:

      How should regular, technically not interested customers decide for an EV in Germany?
      That’s what people read daily in Central European newspapers and magazines:

      – EVs are expensive
      – EVs don’t sell
      – Investing in EVs is a big risk for OEMs
      – Batteries are very bad for the environment
      – EVs are for city use only
      – The EV idea has failed already
      – You might need a new battery for your EV soon.
      – EVs are the pre-stage of fuel cell cars, the real future
      – The development level of EVs is very low. So wait for improvements
      – Driving EVs increasdes climate warming since you run on coal power.
      – The government pumps endless money in EVs and renewable energy and YOU have to pay it
      – EVs are a big compromise for the user
      – etc. , etc.

      Fortunately more and more people do not listen to that propaganda any more.

      1. Spec9 says:

        Is the European press really that bad? That is disappointing.

        1. Mikael says:

          Europe is 50-ish countries with all different press and a number of them in each country in as many languages.
          So it’s pretty hard to make a general assumption. 🙂

          But one thing is for sure though, petrol heads are petrol heads everywhere and almost any car/motor section of the different presses are run by old fashioned petrol heads, which generally have a hard time with the concept of EV’s.

      2. Fons says:

        You certainly have to study and to read more about TESLA Model S. And the best is to have a TestDrive with this exeptional car. And then you can talk with more experience about EV cars.

        A Tesla Fan
        Fons

      3. Fons says:

        If you are “open minded” for EV cars, this link can give you a lot of information : http://www.teslamotors.com/goelectric#range

        And here a picture with “ICE vs EV motors”.

        http://www.pinterest.com/pin/280489883017222074/

  2. zoe-driver says:

    Just FYI,

    when you run your e-car as business owner and live around or in Hamburg, you get 50% of your leasing rate from government in a so called project “Wirtschaft am Strom”. Is that bad or what ?

    Some hundred cars are just sold because of that. And there are other such things.

    Hidden…

  3. zoe-driver says:

    But of course NO extra money for “normal” people,

  4. Mikael says:

    1 million on the roads by (the end of) 2020. No problem. I’m confident they will reach that goal.

    2015 is the start of the rEVolution in Germany.

    1. Cavaron says:

      +1 my thoughts exactly

    2. Why should it? There will be no new mass market EV from any German brand introduced next year.
      Opel has nothing. VW has already shot out everything they have. BMW makes only expensive EVs and Mercedes “limited quantities”. New Smart ED will not be available before 16.

      1. Mikael says:

        You’ll see… 🙂

  5. zoe-driver says:

    My Guess:

    2014 will NOT double Sales of 2013.
    And 2015 nothing special happens either.
    Maybe an addl. +80%, but in the end its nothing.

    But people are fighting against negative press. Read about the Bet against the most popular car magazine “Auto Motor and Sport AMS”. AMS said that a Tesla can just run 184km with a speed of 120 km/h. Lars Thomsen did a bet against that. TV and some lawyers did participate in a range race, which ended yesterday.

    And guess what ? AMS is wrong and people are right. Dozens of EV proved general usability and good range by showing real world range at 90 km/h and 120 km/h.

    The message: All negative press is controlled and you cant believe anyone. The only source of truth is the internet and real drivers of EVs.

    Things are changing.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      All the same BS here in the US.

    2. Mikael says:

      I’ll bet a night with as many beers you can drink on Germany hitting a 100% increase in 2014 compared to 2013 (6711 cars in 2013 according to ev-sales blog so >13422 cars according to the same blog).

      And that EV sales will at least triple in Germany in 2015 (what number that is we will have to wait and see but it is at least more than 3×13422 = 40266 cars).

  6. GeorgeS says:

    As I live in Arizona, it is always interesting to hear about what is happening in Germany….especially in the comments from people who live in the EU.

    I can’t say as I understand it all but the “energwind” (the only way a lame American can remember the name) is definitely a ground breaking thing. Since we have so many people here in the US that think renewables are the key, then Germany is the place to watch.

    1. Mikael says:

      Energiwende… so far it’s nothing but a magicians trick. A flower in one hand (renewables) while burning a cigar in the other hand (coal power and fossil fuels).

      As long as you look at the right hand and take inspiration of that it’s great. But don’t look any closer or lose focus and look at the other hand.

      I’m hoping that one day there will be a gardener and not a magician on stage.

      1. GeorgeS says:

        That’s what I was going to say but for once I was biting my tongue.

      2. robster1979 says:

        Nice way of putting it:-) Could be an inspiration though for the rest of Europe. Especially with the cooled off love affair between Europe and Putins Russia. We need to have a joint Energy plan!

        1. Mikael says:

          Most EU countries have both more renewables and a lot less coal and other fossil fuels. But there are some that could really need to improve and be inspired.
          Like Malta and Cyprus who could take a note on the solar, especially since they actually are sunny countries both in summer and winter. 🙂
          Luxembourg could be fossil free in a heartbeat if they wanted to, they are just too small for anyone to care.

          And then the strangest case of them all, the Netherlands being at the very bottom of the charts of renewables and in the top when looking at fossil fuels. They are educated, intelligent, generally environmentally aware, progressive and internationall.
          Why they are not at the top where they should be but at the bottom is just strange. I hope the EV boom will get people to start looking at their electricity and energy in the Netherlands.

      3. Carl Schmitt says:

        The Energiewende (the renewable energy ramp up and nuclear shut down plan) is an on-off-on story finally pushed to success by traditionally nuclear adverse voters after the Fukushima crisis.
        The coal energy boom… Is not a lasting one. Once the EU CO2 emission certificate system is operating properly this is over.
        A lot of the Energiewende dismissal is propaganda driven by the utilities seeing the dwindling margins of their fossil power plants.

        Sure there are huge challenges to face so let’s do it! And not least, the huge demand for solar in Germany has helped to drive down PV cost, so now demand skyrockets worldwide. Good news!

  7. Koz says:

    Sad to say but if Tesla were a German manufacturer, these number would be drastically different. It will take time to overcome the negative prejudices that go beyond those against EVs when it comes to the manufacturer’s country of origin. Hopefully additional models, range, lowering costs, and added Superchargers changes Tesla’s fortune there. Tesla has also hinted at possible production in Europe when sufficient demand exists. This is a bit of chicken and egg issue for them.

  8. Spec9 says:

    I suspect that Germany will now eventually pass an EV incentive system (tax-credits, etc.) now that BMW (i3 and i8), Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes B-Class and Smart ED), and Volkswagen (E-Up!, eGolf, GTE, plug-in Porsches, etc.) all have plug-in vehicles for sale.

    And I look forward to Germany pioneering V2G technology. With their renewables-heavy grid, they could really help their grid by coordinating vehicle charging (and discharging when needed).

  9. Mr. M says:

    1 million by 2020 still possible. 2014 will not double the number of 2013, but will get around 180% of 2013 (2014 overtook 2013 number around July, not June).

    2013 – 6.5k
    2014 – 12k
    2015 – 21.6k
    2016 – 38.9k
    2017 – 70k
    2018 – 126k
    2019 – 226k
    2020 – 408k

    So with only 80% increase each year you get around 908k cars on the road. Sure it’s not 1 million, but would still be an sucess. And the german manufacturers are just starting. eGolf 4 months ago, A3 first deliverys in around 2 months…

    1. Mikael says:

      A Golf PHEV, Passat PHEV and a A3 PHEV starting selling this year and starting deliveries this year or early next year.

      That are the number 1, 2 and 4 in the selling charts in Germany by models. With combined sales of around 400 000 cars per year.

      If those PHEV’s can get 10% of the “regular” models sales that is 40 000 per year in one blow.
      Plus it takes so little for the government to put some geen incentives for company leasing on those home made cars to really put the sales over the top.

  10. jessy says:

    most expensive european domestic electricity is in GERMANY.

    cheapest european domestic electricity is in ….FRANCE and SWEDEN.

    conclusion : thank you french and swedish nuclear energy.

    1. Spec says:

      Meh. That is an overly simplistic analysis. How much are the tax-payers paying to deal with nuclear waste? How much does hydro help Sweden? Germany pays a lot but they also have large Solar PV (SMA) and Wind (Siemens) industries that have grown up because of that and how much is that worth?

      I do think Germany is making a mistake by abandoning nuclear so fast. But on the other hands, France’s nuclear biz in shambles since Fukushima.

  11. Andrew S says:

    As an American living in Stuttgart, Germany (and working for Daimler AG), I can tell you that the slow adoption of EVs has nothing to do with the environmental-friendly aspect of the technology. On that front, the germans are sold.

    However, from what I have gathered from my peers, the slow adoption has everything to do with how Germans buy cars… Unlike the US where the majority of new car buyers finance or lease their cars, the majority of Germans buy their cars in cash. They see EVs as a technology that is still in its infancy (they wouldn’t be that far off).

    I think in a lot of ways the German market is very conservative. The real litmus test of Electric Vehicle success will be the German Automotive Market.