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It’s Official: Germany’s E-Car Policy Is A Failure

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Daniel Delhaes, Handelsblatt

Widely expected, but now official: Germany will not have 1 million electric cars on the road by 2020. Angela Merkel’s e-car adviser proposes new investments to reach the target, cleverly moving the deadline to 2022.

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Only 709,429 to go. Source: DPA

Germany has not only been late in making attractive electric cars, its citizens are also reluctant to buy them. A new report on the country’s sluggish progress on electric cars predicts that the planned 1 million target for e-cars on German roads by 2020 will not be reached, Handelsblatt has learned.

Instead, 2022 seems more likely, according to the National Platform for Electric Mobility (NPE), a council set up by the government in 2010 and led by former SAP chief executive Henning Kagermann. At the start of this year, there were only 290,571 electric and hybrid vehicles registered in Germany (see graphic below).

In 2009, Chancellor Angela Merkel set the 1 million target to help Germany’s car industry develop a domestic market – and prevent upcoming rivals, such as Tesla and China’s BYD from overtaking the titans VW, BMW and Mercedes-maker Daimler. E-vehicles would also help to meet the nation’s climate goal of reducing carbone dioxide emissions by 40 to 42 percent in 2030 compared to 1990-levels and virtually CO2-free traffic by 2050.

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Germany has lagged on e-cars because its manufacturers have been late to roll them out, according to the council. While Elon Musk regularly steals the limelight with Tesla, the electric cars made by German makers are hidden in car showrooms. There’s also a shortage of charging points and politicians took too long to introduce subsidies for electric-car buyers. The incentives came in 2016, but there have only been 75,338 applications since then.

Mr. Kagermann, who had considered to resign from the e-car council because of the lack of political support, updated Ms. Merkel on Wednesday of his findings. On the one hand, he remains optimistic, predicting battery-powered mobility is on the brink of huge global expansion. By 2020 global e-car production will rise from 1.4 percent last year to 10 percent of total passenger car output, reaching 25 percent in 2025. They will account for a 4 to 6.5 percent share of the German market, he predicts.

On the other hand, Germany must do more to reach the goals in 2022 and 2025.

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