Germany is joining the ranks of countries (e.g., US, UK, France, Japan, China, and India) that are debating the value of government subsidies and showing frustration with the turtle-like sales pace of electric vehicles (EVs). Germany has plans to subsidize EVs after its next general election to meet its target of one million (sound familiar?) units sold by 2020, but support may be waning. "The question of how we will tackle this during the next legislative period (starting late 2013) and whether one needs more incentives – that will be decided when the time has come," said Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The German government has committed to invest 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion US at current exchange rates) of federal research spending on electric cars and battery technology. The government is looking at additional options such as granting vehicle tax exemptions for 10 years to owners who buy their fossil fuel-free cars before December 31, 2015.

There could be more political infighting over the ambitious one million EV plan, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. There's been a report from the Ministry for Education and Research floating around that may recommend that the one million EV plan be scrapped. A spokesman from the ministry acknowledged the report's existence, but wouldn't confirm its content.

The newspaper says that other ministries share the skepticism surrounding the timeline, with Environment Minister Peter Altmaier acknowledging problems with EVs. Economy Minister Philipp Roesler has also refused to support incentives. The German government seems to be experiencing what other countries with big automotive economies are going through. They're no longer having a crush on the first wave of EVs, and long-term commitment is in question.


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  • 29 Comments
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      As usual, Jon LeSage has some depressing little article about EV development. Poorly researched and based on speculation, Jon LeSage is like a astrologer, relying on future event to able to be interpretative in some way so verify his vague assertions, thus impressing the gullible with his amazing insight ! During times of economic austerity, it's only natural that large taxpayer funded subsidies, without an immediate political payoff, will always have opponents.
        oktrader
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Sorry, Marco, you're the one making "poorly researched" statements. The basis of this article comes from several references used by Dow Jones Newswire, with ministry and industry people quoted and attributed by name in most cases. His "assertions" are simply references to the public uttererances of German gov't and industry authorities. Bummer.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Germany has got Greek, Irish, Italian, Portuguese Spanish debt cans to keep kicking it down the road until Merkel gets re-elected again, only a few votes to be won with EVs in Germany. LOL Fossil fuel free cars, Germany is ditching Nuclear Power & no to much Californian sunshine dark holes of Dresden to go solar. If fossil fuels run out tomorrow what would batteries, tyres, most of the best quality plastic that goes in to these light be replaced with, balsa wood? 70,000,000 Cycles in Germany, German cycle sales were 4,040,000 in 2011, EV's 1,020 units in Germany in the first half of 2011. Spot the trend in the race to be the greenest on the planet using proper ZERO EMISSION transport.
      kEiThZ
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder if the subsidies would be more effective building up a charging network to address range anxiety concerns.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      The bill for the renewables switchover on German electricity rates alone is more than some in the US pay in total for off-peak power at 6.7 US cents/kwh: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-germany-hikes-electricity-renewables.html ''The country's four main grid operators said Monday that households will from January see a nearly 50 percent rise in the tax they pay to finance the switchover—from €3.6 cents to €5.3 cents ($6.7 cents) per kilowatt hour. A typical family of four will pay about €250 ($324) per year under the tariff, including a sales tax' Of course this does not include costs hidden in mandates and so on.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Look out, here come the cyclists: there are 45 million cars and 70 million bicycles on the roads in Germany http://sjpaderborn.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/look-out-here-come-the-cyclists-there-are-45-million-cars-and-70-million-bicycles-on-the-roads-in-germany/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKteL0d-8d0 Spot the trend?
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        Europe would be better off making more bike paths and more electric trains (or cheaper fares).
      onyerleft
      • 2 Years Ago
      I guess this is a followup to your Sept. 21 article titled, 'COB wonders if $7.5 billion in Federal plug-in vehicle support is worth it' in which the COB did no such thing. Without delving to deep into the misrepresentations of that article, which conflates having "no effect on gasoline consumption" with having "no effect on gasoline consumption over the next several years", you again adopt a myopic view of the tax incentive program which was never a part of its original vision. Here, you allege "support may be waning", that Germany is "questioning EV subsidy support", and that there is "political infighting" - without a shred of evidence in support.
        oktrader
        • 2 Years Ago
        @onyerleft
        ... and just another attributed quote from the notoriously right-wing Reuters news service: "No more than 2,272 electric cars were registered in Germany in the first eight months of the year, accounting for 0.1 percent of the overall 2.108 million passenger cars registered, according to a new study of the Centre of Automotive Research (CAR) at the University of Duisburg-Essen. " 'It would be unworldly and naive to continue to pursue the goal (of 1 million electric cars by 2020),' said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the CAR think-tank." Sooo... the guy running the govt/industry/academia think tank (a key decision-making reference in the structure of German gov't affairs) says that maintaining the 1M by '20 goal is "unworldly and naive". But, yeah, there's no evidence at all they are rethinking the goal. Nope.
          Brian H
          • 2 Years Ago
          @oktrader
          PS to above; TM's cars will be supported by its 'SuperCharging' intercity network, solar-powered (net across the net) HVDC stations, offering FREE charging. For the life of the cars it sells. (Usable on intercity routes only, as I said, spaced about 250 km apart, a range only its products can achieve.)
          onyerleft
          • 2 Years Ago
          @oktrader
          You do see the logical gulf between rethinking the goal of 1 million EVs on the road by 2020, and the unfounded editorializing that follows: "support for subsidies may be waning" etc. etc.? Words matter.
          Brian H
          • 2 Years Ago
          @oktrader
          The reason EVs aren't selling much in EU may be that to date they've mostly just had toys and half-arfed options to choose from. Wait till TeslaMotors gets its products into that market over the next few years. Real cars, real option.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      With renewables driving the cost of electricity in Germany to $0.30kwh how can electric cars make sense to people? That is apart from the fact that their wild variability is actually to the point of risking a large scale failure of the German and much of the European grid: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9205 The renewables industry there is pushing to have greater variability allowed in the supply to the grid, with supplies at down to 47.5Hz. What that will do to critical equipment and the additional back up costs needed can be imagined. This is far from an evil scheme by the car-makers, but an inevitability due to the mess they have made of their electricity supply system.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Even at $0.30/KWH, driving on electricity is much cheaper than driving on gasoline. Such high electricity prices are a hindrance but not a deal-breaker. And you bring up the grid instability as reason against EVS? LOL, grid instability is a reason FOR EVs! EVs can soak up extra solar panel & wind power when there is excess and, if the EV owner agrees, feed it back on the grid for frequency regulation. The Germans may actually provide incentives for EV buyers if they are willing to participate in V2G programs in order to help stabilize their grid. They are engineers . . . this is what they do.
        Rick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        EU law is shutting down Coal & Gas power stations, with Nuclear Power also getting the boot as most of them are now also due to be decommissioned in the UK, and with NIMBYS not in the mood for another Japanese Nuclear disaster on their doors steps that take 10 years from conception to getting it up and running supplying electrical power, with unreliable wind farms that don't work some of time creating massive shortages in the future folk across will be taking an axe Greek rioting style to EV car charging points so they don't have to sit in the dark freezing to death. EV's are going to be about as popular as the Bubonic Page was in Europe in a few years time as Electric Power can't match demands?
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rick
          Perhaps some read your comments. I never bother, unless they are so short that your obsessions are too apparent to miss however tedious.
      Zapbrannigan
      • 2 Years Ago
      German car industry needs to stop dragging its heels on alternative fuel vehicles.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice article, thanks for the information.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Buy a bike to conserve Electrical Power supplies not a EV..
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        This is an automobile forum, not one for bikes. Stop posting trolling spam.
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