That demand increase coincides with the German government's recent decision to collaborate with automakers by offering financial perks for plug-in vehicles. German consumers get a $4,400 break on electric vehicles and a $3,300 discount on plug-in hybrids. All told, the program will be worth about $1.4 billion, and about half of that funding will come from the German automakers themselves. That program will also fund the deployment of as many as 15,000 vehicle-recharging stations, which should further spur demand for plug-in hybrids and EVs. The ultimate goal is to speed up plug-in vehicle adoption to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2009 goal to have 1 million EVs on Germany's roads by 2020. Upon adoption of the government initiative, Germany had accounted for about 30,000 electric vehicles, implying that the country was far off the pace needed to meet Merkel's decade-end target.
As for BMW, the company announced this spring that the 2017-model-year i3 will offer a 33-kWh battery. The larger pack will increase the i3's single-charge range to 114 miles from 81 miles, or a 41-percent boost. Reuters says BMW is also planning to further improve the i3's performance for 2018, while another electric vehicle is on tap for 2021. BMW also sells the super-sporty i8 plug-in hybrid under its "i" sub-brand.