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You Won’t Have Much Luck Selling Electric Cars to Germans


German drivers still love their gas guzzlers and not many of them are thinking about going electric any time soon.

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As the world’s leading automakers are gearing up to later this month show off their motors at giant industry fair in Frankfurt, just 16% of drivers in Europe’s biggest economy considering a new car are thinking electric, according to a poll published by utility EON SE. Only the Czechs were less interested in buying an electric car.

As consumers across Europe fret over climate change, their preference is still very much for gasoline vehicles. And practicalities matter too, the respondents said. Germany had just 17,400 power points dotted along roads by the end of March, according to the BDEW utilities federation. By the end of last year, a mere 420,000 electric or hybrid vehicles were registered in the nation’s fleet of 47 million private cars.

Cumulative EV sales in Germany (historical, forecasted and targeted)

German consumers are also shying from electric cars because of the upfront cost. Volkswagen AG’s flagship E-Golf costs 35,900 euros ($40,000) in its basic version, excluding the environment bonus, according to the company’s website. That compares with 24,000 euros for the gasoline-run IQ.Drive Golf.

Still, Germany registered 5,001 new electric vehicles on it’s roads last month, double the amount a year earlier, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority. About 61% of all new registrations were gasoline cars, while 30% were diesel.

The nation’s auto industry could do better to promote electric car sales, according to sustainable transport lobby VCD. The tally of just 19 new electric cars showcased at the IAA fair this year in “a parade of fat SUVs and gas guzzlers during the climate crisis is a relict of the past,” the lobby’s Chairwoman Kerstin Haarmann said.

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