Berlin Summit

Recharging Ms. Merkel's E-car Strategy

angela merkel chancellor German electric cars VW e-car E-Golf hybrid plug in Source ddp images Joerg Sarbach
Can Angela Merkel recharge her e-car strategy?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German incentives to buy electric or hybrid cars could boost the e-car market and help VW, BMW, Daimler, Tesla, Toyota and others to sell their electrically powered vehicles in Germany.

  • Facts


    • Chancellor Angela Merkel had proclaimed there would be 1 million electric cars on German roads by 2020, but that looks increasingly unlikely.
    • Vice chancellor and economics minister, Sigmar Gabriel, has called for e-car buyer incentives and has backing from some members of his Social Democrats party.
    • Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, and the government’s transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt, both from Ms. Merkel’s Christian Union parties, oppose a so-called buyer’s premium.
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As German chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to face the bosses of Daimler, VW and BMW at top-level talks on Tuesday, she’ll be looking at political incentives to help them to clean up their act.

Ms. Merkel’s target of having 1 million electric cars on the road by 2020 is still far from being realized. By the end of 2015, around 31,000 e-cars were registered in Germany and 141,000 hybrids, data from Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority show. This pales compared to the total of 47 million cars in Germany.

German carmakers complained last month that political will was lacking to develop the German e-car market, which is also small compared with developments in other European countries or the United States and Japan.

Some politicians have joined the carmakers in calling for tax incentives or buying premiums to boost the sale of e-cars in Germany. Such schemes could also help Germany’s carmakers, from VW to BMW to Mercedes, in developing and selling the electric cars, where they have trailed rivals such as Toyota and Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors.

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