Electric Wheels

Germany to Rev Up Flagging E-Car Market

Die Zapfsäule für Erdgas an der Multi-Energy-Tankstelle der EnBW, aufgenommen am Dienstag (13.12.2011) in Stuttgart. An der Tankstelle können Kunden Autogas, Erdgas und Strom tanken. Die Tankstelle war zum Zeitpunkt der Aufnahme wegen einer Pressekonferenz geschlossen. Foto: Franziska Kraufmann dpa/lsw (zu lsw 0853 vom 13.12.2011) [ Rechtehinweis: Verwendung weltweit, usage worldwide ]
There are current calls for e-mobility support.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Electric cars remain a rarity on the roads in Germany, Europe’s biggest car market. The country needs to boost the market to keep up with rival automakers and to meet stricter E.U. standards for vehicle emissions.

  • Facts


    • The German government wants to establish a mass market for electric cars in Germany and boost the number to one million by 2020.
    • There are just 24,000 electric cars in Germany at present.
    • The government is considering a range of buying incentives including a big tax writedown for fleets and corporate cars.
  • Audio


  • Pdf


The land of the motor car, which is home to some of the world’s most successful automakers and famously has no general speed limit on its Autobahns, has been painfully slow to embrace electric vehicles.

The cost and weight of such cars, together with concerns over their range and performance, has left Germans firmly wedded to the combustion engine, even though there is a growing range of e-cars in the market.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s goal of reaching one million electric cars on the road by 2020 is looking ever harder to reach five years after she announced it.

So far, Germany has not followed the example of countries like France or Britain that offered direct purchase subsidies to accelerate demand for electric cars.

At present, only 24,000 of the well over 60 million vehicles licensed in Germany are electric. Including hybrid vehicles, the figure is 127,000. Of that total, 60 percent belong to commercial buyers. In February, registrations even declined year-on-year.

“We’ll only reach the target if the figures rise every month,” said Kirsten Lühmann, a transport policy spokeswoman for the center-left Social Democrats, junior coalition partners to Ms. Merkel’s conservatives.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.