Germany Backs Away From Promise Of 1 Million EVs By 2020

OCT 4 2012 BY JAY COLE 2

For Europe, Germany is seen as a leader when it comes to green technology.  The country’s commitment and track record with renewable energy is impressive, with almost 30 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics alone.

"Hey, Look At Me!" - Angela Merkel Plugs In a German Made Smart Electric Drive

So when Germany said they would get 1 million EVs on the road by 2020, it was widely assumed they would achieve it, at almost any cost.

Unfortunately, through the end of August, only 4,600 of them have been registered for Germany, and an plug-in electric vehicle only accounts for about 1 in every 10,000 new cars sold.

Earlier this week

On Monday, German chancellor Angela Merkel held a meeting with Germany’s major automobile manufacturers, including BMW, VW, Porsche and Daimler, to talk about electric cars and how to get more of them onto the roads. 

Apparently, that meeting did not go so well, as Ms. Merkel noted afterward that it “wouldn’t be easy” to meet the government’s  million EV pledge.

Now it is time for a new pledge, with the revised magic number at “600,000 electric cars by 2020 (being) more likely.”

Another reason it probably went badly is because none of the real players in the segement were present due to their non-German roots:  General Motors (who the chancellor hates after the whole Opel non-sale thing), Renault (who outsold the entire industry in Europe by a 3 to 1 factor in September), and Mitsubishi.

Analysts have put the blame squarely on pricing of the cars in Germany, and the lack of an incentive program to offset the premium for plugging  in.  The average electric car sold in Germany goes about 70 miles on a charge, but also retails for about  €10,000 ($12,900 USD) more .

Perhaps the main reason for backing off the “1 million EV by 2020” pledge is the Euro-zone financial crisis.  

Meanwhile, At The Office For Consumer EV Incentives In Germany (via Seinfeld/NBC)

While the government had said they would contribute 1 billion Euros in financial assistance and loans to companies doing reaserch and development of electric cars, direct assistance on subsidization has been put on hold.

When asked in parliament, the German chancellor has declined to offer incentives or tax breaks direct to citizens, and she says the goverment has no intention of implementing it during the current term. 

So yes Germany, “no soup for you!”

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2 Comments on "Germany Backs Away From Promise Of 1 Million EVs By 2020"

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The German government has a a stick and a carrot approach to this and VW is making a lot of plug-in noises these days. Daimler and BMW are also carefully dipping their toes in the electron soup. I suppose something is working, considering that just two years ago all we heard was diesel and hydrogen.

Maybe it was GM/Opel and Nissan/Renault putting them all to shame.

I just drove the BEV VW Golf for 30 minutes last week in Wolfsburg Germany (Demo drives are free to the public at the Autostadt). It was a nice little car and very fast. They even have an iPhone app, but its not as nice as the one for my Volt.