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