By on May 5, 2011

President Obama’s goal of having a million plug-in vehicles zipping around American roads by 2015 faces some serious challenges, as report after report casts doubt on the chances of the hoped-for level of adoption in the hoped-for timeframe. Meanwhile, the president’s defense of his plan’s practicability… leaves quite a bit to be desired. Regardless, the President’s goal is receiving some unexpected support as Automotive News Europe [sub] reports that

Germany’s cabinet plans to commit billions of euros to boost the electric auto sector so that 1 million cars are registered by 2020

The 2020 goal puts Germany five years behind Obama’s 2015 goal, but then there are a number of differences between the two situations. Selling a million of anything will always be easier in the US, although higher energy costs and urban density make EVs more attractive in Germany. Germany will spend its undisclosed billions on ten-year registration tax holiday for EVs, business tax incentives and (of course) government fleet purchases, while the US largely subsidizes plug-ins through consumer-end tax credits. If nothing else, the contrast between the subsidy styles should be interesting to watch. Meanwhile, chalk this up as yet another brick in the wall for Germany’s shift towards EVs after years of skepticism… funny what one mysterious, domestically-produced “miracle battery” can do.

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9 Comments on “Germany To Match Obama EV Goal… Five Years Later...”


  • avatar
    CraigSu

    Given that Germany’s population is 1/4 of the United States, this is indeed an ambitious goal. Whether it’s worth pursuing by either government is another kettle of electric fish entirely.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      Given Europe’s significantly higher gas prices, it may actually be an easier goal than in the US. Not to mention there’s an extra 5 years technology progress to help lower battery costs/improve efficiency.

  • avatar

    That is exactly what I was going to say.

  • avatar

    The German road tax (levied according to a mixture of engine displacement and CO2 emissions – according to curb weight for EVs) is no big deal. A Nissan Leaf would cost 45 Euro a year. Exempting EVs from the tax won’t move the needle.

    Beginning in 2009, EVs had been exempt from the road tax for the first 5 years , and what did it do?

  • avatar
    TR4

    Per DOT, the German gasoline tax is the equivalent of $4.57 per US gallon. When the pols figure out how to apply a comparable amount to electric vehicles their running cost will increase greatly.

  • avatar
    Akaishi

    A flawless time to roll out an EV program, while they’re busy shutting down nuclear plants.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Good point. Where’s the electricity going to come from? One million EVs charging at night will create its own peak demand when producers use the off-peak hours for maintenance and upgrades.

    • 0 avatar

      Shutting down nuclear plants may be the least expensive thing. Should anything go wrong, Germany (as opposed to Japan) can import (nuclear) power from France and the Czech Republic. Putin also seems to be pleased with Germany’s plans as he can offer “alternative” energy, as oil, natural gas.

      But building up a new intelligent grid (tax-subsidized) and at the same time replacing the shut-down nuclear plants with alternative energy sources (tax-subsidized) while concurrently trying to push the sales of E-vehicles (tax-subsidized), might even overwhelm an economy with a still strong manufacturing base, especially, if this economy is already debt-ridden.

      We will see. Those, who can’t run away will have to pay for this.

      Plans are already under consideration to introduce an Autobahn tax. (Just another stupid idea; if implemented as discussed this will lead to a massive overflow of other roads.) Higher taxes on the private use of company cars are also in preparation. Although already ridiculously high, spin doctors are busy to ease their introduction. But this is just the taxable automotive sector…

  • avatar
    charly

    Infrastructure is always subsidized. It doesn’t matter if it is road, rail, water or air


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