National Electromobility Initiative Submits 2nd Report – Government Programme Electromobility

The National Electromobility Initiative (Nationale Plattform Elektromobilität – NPE) submitted a second report to Chancellor Angela Merkel containing an analysis of the potential of electromobility  and strategies to achieve the government’s goal of having one million electric cars on German roads by 2020. The government in turn announced to adopt a “Government Programme Electromobility” (Regierungsprogramm Elektromobilität) on 18 May 2011.

The National Electromobility Initiative was launched in May 2010 by Chancellor Angela Merkel. Last December NPE presented an interim report.

In its second report NPE calls electromobility a key element to low-emission mobility and a opportunity as well as a challenge for further enhancing Germany’s position as a leading location for industry, science and technology. The opportunities are worth the efforts, as electromobility has a potential of creating roughly 30,000 additional jobs until 2020, NPE believes.

NPE suggests a three-phase approach in order to make Germany a leading market for electric cars with 1 million cars on the roads by 2020:

  1. Until 2014: Preparation stage with focus on research and development plus show case projects
  2. Until 2017: Preparation for market launch with a focus on vehicles and infrastructure
  3. Until 2020: Beginning of mass market roll-out with sustainable business models

To this end NPE proposes various measures ranging from support for R&D, cooperation of the players in the key areas, pilot projects, education and further training of staff to standardisation.

Costs of the market preparation stage will amount to approximately EUR 4 billion, NPE calculates.

A total cost of ownership analysis of electric cars shows a significant disparity compared with internal combustion engine vehicles in the short and medium term, NPE says. For this reason, NPE expects only 450,000 electric cars on German roads instead of 1 million if consumers do not get additional incentives to buy electric cars. In its report NPE recommends non-monetary as well as monetary incentives like priority parking, the use of special driving lanes for electric cars, tax privileges and loans at reduced rates by the stated-owned KfW bank.

Despite calls from the industry and the head of the parliamentary group of the Greens, Renate Künast, to subsidize electric cars by giving grants to consumers, the government favours promoting R&D. A joint press release by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research announced to make additional funds of EUR 1 billion available by the end of the legislative term.

In times of tight budgets, no country could afford to start a costly race for subsidies, Federal Minister of Transport Dr. Peter Ramsauer said. He favours measures including R&D grants as well as (other) incentives for consumers, without further describing what theses incentives could be. Details will probably become clearer with the cabinet decision on 18 May 2011.

On 31 March 2011 the EU launched its Green eMotion project, which supports research and development of road transport solutions which have the potential to achieve a breakthrough in the use of renewable and non-polluting energy sources. The four year project has a total budget of EUR 42 million and will be funded by the European Commission with EUR 24 million.

Sources: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

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