National Electromobility Initiative Presents Progress Report 2014 – Registrations of Electric Cars Decline in November

On Tuesday the National Electromobility Initiative (NPE) presented its Progress Report 2014. The presentation occurred amid reports about declining registrations of new electric cars and the announcement of the closure of Germany’s only lithium ion battery cell manufacturer, Li-Tec Battery GmbH, a 100% subsidiary of Daimler AG, by the end of 2015. At the end of the market ramp up phase (2010 to 2014) Germany was on the right track with 17 electric cars offered by German manufacturers and 12 more to come in 2015, but more needed to be done if Germany wanted to reach the government’s goal of having one million electric cars on Germany’s roads by 2020, the report says.

Compared with other leading markets for electric cars Germany ranks average with 24,000 registered electric cars and roughly 4,800 AC charging stations in 2,400 locations and 100 fast-charging stations. The report gives the following recommendations for the future:

1. Special Depreciation for Commercial Users of Electric Cars

NPE reiterates its recommendation already made last year to promote electric cars for commercial users by allowing for bonus depreciations in the tax law. This demand has meanwhile found a positive response as the government announced in the Action Programme on Climate Protection 2020, which it approved on 3 December 2014, that commercial customers of electric cars shall receive tax reductions.

2. Speedy Implementation of the Electromobility Act

NPE calls for a speedy implementation of the bill on an Electromobility Act, which aims to promote electromobility by special rights for electric cars, such as access to bus lanes, priority parking and access to areas in which traffic is restricted (for more information see here and here). The bill was adopted by government in late September. Parliament still has to vote on. The entry into force is scheduled for spring 2015.

3. Building Nationwide Publicly Accessible Charging Infrastructure

NPE emphasizes the need for building a nationwide publicly accessible charging infrastructure. Costs are estimated to amount to EUR 550 million up to 2020. NPE recommends co-financing by public authorities. In the press release accompanying the presentation of the progress report, Economics and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the government wanted to make progress on the expansion of public and private charging infrastructure. He did, however, only mention plans to amend the relevant laws so as to increase security and interoperability and facilitate networks (intelligente Vernetzung).

4. Infrastructure Expansion in Line with EU Directive on Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure

NPE also calls for a speedy expansion of the infrastructure in line with the EU Directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.

5. Initiate and Implement Public and Private Procurement of Electric Cars

NPE advises to initiate and implement public and private procurement initiatives. In this regard NPE once again mentions special depreciation.

6. Public Funding of Research and Development

NPE recommends public funding of at least EUR 360 million annually during the market launch phase (Markthochlauf) in the years 2015 to 2017, in particular in the areas of car technology, batteries, information and communications technology and infrastructure.

7. Establish Battery Cell Manufacturing in Germany

Due to overcapacity on the world market for the current generation of lithium-ion batteries further growth of production was uneconomical (as the Li-Tech plant closure shows), yet with more electric cars being sold more batteries were needed, NPE says, emphasizing that a production of the next battery cell generations was in Germany’s interest. NPE therefore recommends co-financing by public authorities. It announced to present a roadmap for cell and battery production in Germany in 2015.

Regarding plans by the City of Munich to grant EUR 23 million spread over 3 years in direct aid for electric cars, please see here.

Source: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

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