By on November 4, 2019

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Sunday that her country will soon have one million charging stations ready for electric cars. Her words came ahead of numerous meetings with German automotive manufacturers on how best to spur EV adoption in Europe.

Pivoting to zero-emission vehicles has many worried about job losses. The United Auto Workers issued a nearly 40-page report on the implications of electric vehicles and how to address them during its negotiations with General Motors — after the automaker said the battery plant it was eyeballing in Ohio would require hourly employees to take pay cuts. The Center for Automotive Research has also indicated that EVs simply don’t take as many man hours to manufacture. It’s even mentioned in the Trump administration’s fuel economy rollback proposal — an effort bent on furnishing cheap automobiles and American jobs.

Germany is worried too, with groups echoing similar employment concerns. To mitigate those fears, while encouraging electrification and maintaining jobs, the nation wants to take its 20,000 charging stations to 1 million. 

“For this purpose, we want to create a million charging points by the year 2030 and the industry will have to participate in this effort, that is what we will be talking about,” Merkel said, according to Reuters.

From Reuters:

The meeting in the Chancellery is the second on the issue that entails speedy action so that Germany’s transport sector can help meet national emissions targets.

Would-be buyers have cited a lack of fuel infrastructure as a reason to shun electric cars.

Apart from electric alternatives to gasoline and diesel-driven cars, the government will also explore those run on hydrogen fuel cells, with the government and the industry sharing the cost of subsidies to attract buyers for both.

Merkel said the government aimed to preserve jobs making cars and parts. It is becoming clear that fewer employees are needed to construct electric cars than conventional ones.

Stephan Weil, the prime minister in Lower Saxony and Volkswagen supervisory board member, said he wants to see commitments for 100,000 public charging points in place by 2021. VW is busy transitioning to electrification, and is already contributing to regional charging points — including here in the U.S. under its Electrify America subsidiary. The manufacturer has expressed a need for a comprehensive support infrastructure if EVs are to be truly successful.

Weil said Berlin should ease provisions to fund compensation for workers, should the industry become overstaffed. He also feels legislation is needed to changed to encourage more public and home charging points. “An extremely demanding time lies ahead for the German automotive industry that must be accompanied actively by policymakers,” he said.

However, there are other issues Germany should worry about. It’s currently dependent upon fossil fuels for the brunt of its energy. Some have complained that, without more renewable sources of energy, automakers will just be upstreaming emissions to power plants while also contributing to pollution via battery production. The national energy grid is also a concern, with engineers saying it will need to undergo an overhaul to endure the peak draw of countless EVs plugging in at home every night.

Germany’s plight shows what lies ahead if the U.S. attempts to bolster EV adoption; we’d be foolish not to take note of any victories or failures it encounters on the 10-year journey. Then again, the million charging points are arbitrary. Deutschland will probably build as many as it can in the time allotted. What we should be monitoring is how this affects EV sales, pollution levels, and employment rates.

[Image: Markus Wissmann/Shutterstock]

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41 Comments on “Keeping Tabs: Germany Promises One Million EV Charge Points by 2030...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    I’m not German so what they do is of little consequence to me. But using government money to fund fueling stations is ridiculous. If private entrepreneurs cannot startup and operate then there’s something wrong with the business model. I’ve seen hotels and gas stations setup chargers so clearly in America at least it seems to attract business.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      exactly

      remember, it was the same people who pushed Europe to go full diesel but

      never mind

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Meh, thats between the Germans and their elected leadership.

      I wouldn’t be wild about it in the US though. I do wish we would adopt a charging standard however but I don’t think the industry has reached a steady state yet.

      With respect to our business model, EV’s are by in large purchased by wealthier sorts so having folks with money hang out for a half an hour or so isn’t the worst thing for a business.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Charging points fueled by brown coal. Ja, Ja, ees goot!

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Thank you for mentioning the elephant in the room that no one wishes to discuss. If EVs ever become more than a toy for rich virtue-signalers, the power grid will be called upon to supply substantially more energy than it does now. (Has anyone done a rough calculation?) . This has significant implications for both generating capacity and grid capacity. I don’t think the answer is that we’re all going to charge our vehicles at night, when power demand is low. Aside from the obvious inconvenience, one of the greenies’ favorite alternate energy sources — solar — doesn’t work at night.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Large Steam cross-compound turbines producing over 1GW of power each are the answer to this. The scale makes them super efficient and the scrubbers have made them about as clean as natural gas fired (or especially diesel fuel fired gas turbines that use on average 300 gallons of diesel fuel a minute) making at most 225 MW.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I don’t know, my kid owns a Leaf and he only ever charges it at night. Same with my friends (One Tesla S, One Tesla 3, and One Toyota MR2 with a conversion from some place out west that honestly makes me want to do one).

      Regardless of what the greenies think, my energy is mostly nuclear with some natural gas and coal mixed in.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I own, today, an EVSE that automatically charges only when demand is low enough that my local utility isn’t supplementing its usually very clean mix with dirty power. (It will charge under other conditions if it needs to do so to ensure the car is fully charged by 5 a.m.) On a typical recent day when we’ve driven ~25 miles, that usually means it starts charging around 11 p.m, and finishes by 1 a.m. Even with an empty battery it won’t start charging until after the dinnertime demand peak is over.

        No reason that tech couldn’t scale.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      We need to learn how to store solar. For example, during the day, use solar to fill water somewhere. At night, use this water to spin the turbine. May be, the answer is not a large scale capacity/turbines but rather, household-size ones with rain water used for this.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Your never going to have an equal energy transfer. Once you count for losses in energy, evaporative losses of the water, and general maintenance of such a system, and combine that with the low energy production of a solar setup, you don’t have very much left.

        I believe that a better option but extremely unlikely to scale to meet the demands of every living individual is battery storage.

        Of course using batteries or building solar panels in China or elsewhere all have huge pollution issues that far outrank any pollution from current federally regulated coal plants in the US.

        So I’m back to my original point.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      DC Bruce,

      a) At one point the electric utilities were excited about EV’s due to the potential for demand leveling. (And the technology exists to go both directions in theory.)

      b) There are numerous opportunities for offsetting demand reduction which the majority of households have not taken full advantage of. As one example, drive around at night through a typical subdivision and see how many homes are still burning multiple 90W halogen bulbs all night at each corner of the house. That energy alone (switching to LED’s) would cover some people’s EV usage.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @DCBruce: “If EVs ever become more than a toy for rich virtue-signalers” Maybe the rich part is true, but I’ve only met one green virtue-signaller with a BEV and hundreds that aren’t. They’re quicker, quieter, and smoother than ICEs. Gee, that couldn’t be the reason could it? No, you think it’s gotta be for green reasons. Give me a break. Maybe some people don’t want a $50k+ for a luxury vehicle that has all the refinement of a 1940 Farmall or a powerplant that’s similar to their maid’s KIA. Smooth, quiet, instant power is a good thing and a bigger factor than “virtue signaling”. Another tell-tale I’ve noticed is that EVs in my area almost never have bumper stickers, but plenty of stickers on the back of Priuses.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        “or a powerplant that’s similar to their maid’s KIA.”

        That’s about the jist of wealthy virtue signaling isn’t it?

        I’ve also noticed that those 1940 Farmalls still seem to be plowing fields 80 years later on their original engine, hell some still ride on their original tires. I think most people see longevity as a more important virtue than fear of being seen in a lowly maids car.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          “That’s about the jist of wealthy virtue signaling isn’t it?”

          Yeah, that’s true. There certainly is a lot of wealth virtue-signaling involved with all sorts of possessions. I’ve seen wealth virtue signaling beyond what you would even think possible like hiring major A-list musicians to play their birthday parties.

          Farmalls are great, no doubt. But, why have a lack of refinement in a car? Nothing wrong with that.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Is it not more efficient to use solar energy to heat water beyond boiling to operate steam generators?

            As to virtue signalling, I think that belongs to drivers/owners of Leafs, Prius, Insights, Ionics and similar vehicles. Tesla is still regarded as some sort of ‘status’ marque.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Personally I don’t care about signaling jack with a vehicle and will drive my 87 Blazer with rust holes as quickly as I’ll drive my very clean H1 open top depending on what I’m feeling for the day.

            I personally think being impressed by material is as stupid as being impressed by someone simply because they are considered “famous”. I’ll hold respect for intellect that allowed someone to gain wealth, but I will not give respect for someone just because they are famous or their name is blasted everywhere.
            Respect is earned not given, signal away but the only people impressed are morons. I’m not stating this towards EVs or Tesla owners, just in general.

            Refinement is great but EV manufacturers are missing the mark by not going outside of the box with their designs. I want to see extravagant peak American design and instead we have a bunch of suppositories that are almost all universally dorky. Electric motors can be built very tough and are capable of being rebuilt, but again the focus of the entire EV market is simply boring.

            I think they could capture more attention for these products by building brash, tough, and excessive designs that people are naturally attracted to. It’s like they’re afraid of offending soy-rage induced virtue signalers and then end up with a product that is so boring and unattractive that no one is willing to give it attention.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “Is it not more efficient to use solar energy to heat water beyond boiling to operate steam generators?“

            Arthur, in particular the steam generators I tend to be around have boilers operating in supercritical state, a 5MW solar farm is not capable of heating up the amount of steam to the supercritical state to run a cross compound 1GW steam turbine with a HP/IP connected to one generator and the other side with two LP turbines pushing the other generator, or even the smaller 400MW units for that matter. You need an extremely dense energy source to make this happen.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “or a powerplant that’s similar to their maid’s KIA.”

        This is very, very much not the slam dunk defense you were thinking it to be.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        ‘They’re quicker, quieter, and smoother than ICEs. Gee, that couldn’t be the reason could it? No, you think it’s gotta be for green reasons.

        It’s better when they make a dumb comment like the one above to your face. Some knucklehead at work in the parking lot thanked me for saving all that gas for him with my Volt while he exited his Hemi. Typical MOPAR guy………ya doofus I got 3 boats at home with V8 sterndrives that will burn through a gallon of gas faster than you can say “small block chevy”, but your welcome.

        The “deer in the headlights” look was priceless!………LOL

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      My 17 year old kid is virtue signaling driving his mat black Leaf to his job as a bus boy at a Mexican restaurant? Who knew. He said he got it because it was incredibly practical and cheap to operate but maybe he’s just trying to score with the Granola chicks at his high school. The reality is probably that I let him plug it in so he never has to dig between the seats for gas money. Either way, pretty far from a rich virtue signaler. There are 4 parked at his HS by the way. His was 4800 used.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Why not both?

        MY11 or 12 I take it?

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          It is mostly a 2013. The front fender is off of a 2011 with the turn signal hole covered up and the hood is newer (he drove it into a parked trailer right after he got it…hence the current mat black.)

          Funny enough though, I love driving that stupid thing to the point I am seriously kicking around the EV Mini to replace my Fiesta ST at lease end or in a couple years if I pass it to my youngest.

          What I really need is one of those EV west conversions for a Delorean…it would sound just like the time machine car and probably have more range than the original powertrain (between breakdowns) and certainly be faster.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    This woman and her incompetent behind-kissers need to go. And I am saying this as an ex-CSU/CDU voter.

    Merkel’s wishy-washy politics have been disastrous for my country and the social peace. She needs to step down. Now.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Rammstein ist das gut.

    • 0 avatar

      If she goes down taking Nancy and Adam you know who with her – I all for it. Is she so in competent because she is from East Germany?

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        @Inside Looking Out,

        Merkel is from East Germany and had a ‘socialist’ upbringing. In her youth she was the secretary of the FDJ (Freue Deutsche Jugend – essentially an East German Boys/Girls Scout), a position which is allotted to someone who is true to the political party principles.

        Merkel has turned the formerly conservative CSU/CDU into a socialist political party, positioned quite left on the political spectrum. Her poorly thought-out politics (and often knee-jerk reactions) have caused social upheaval and weakened German industry.

        She is also a liar and manipulator, claiming that there is ‘freedom of speech’ in our country, which has long since been replaced with the philosophy that ‘there is only correct belief’ and political correctness. Merkel has removed all forms of opposition to her within in the CDU, so that now she is surrounded by behind-kissers and yes-sayers; people interested in keeping their lucrative, well-paid political position and do not give a damn about the country and its people.

        This is the reason why I am now an AfD voter.

        • 0 avatar

          Thomas, so she has all the qualities that were admired so much by Communist Party apparatchiks. I hope she does not force West Germans to speak Russian and study Marxism (All East Germans know or knew Russian pretty well and officially were Marxists).

          In USSR PC was forced upon all people. Goal was to destroy national cultures and replace it with uniform Soviet culture with One Nation under Communist Party. Now he same thing happens in the West.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Looks like bolstered by good news about Nord Stream 2, Merkel now is confident of endless electricity supplies despite decommissioning of nuclear power plants.

    • 0 avatar

      I heard that French are not so far behind Germans with Nuclear power. I have a feeling that Europeans are so irresponsible with economy and defense because they think that if something happens America will come to protect them and will come up with another Marshall plan. But I am not sure that Americans are so exited about it considering anti-american attitude taken by old Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Europe is too big to fail. They know if the US doesn’t bail them out, Russia or China are willing to buy into their good graces.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        The failing point of all democracies is that they became or becoming hyper-democracies. Management by commission. Imagine a military unit without commander, company without CEO or movie set without a director. Same in politics. Democracy should end once a leader is elected, democratically. Then let demnn guy manage the country within constitutional framework. Follow the legal orders, the vision and execute.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    In my part of the world the vast majority of the electric grid is publicly owned. I believe that is the case in Germany. Any expansion of that grid would be in the public domain including EV charging stations.

    Statistics do indicate that modern natural gas or diesel powered electrical plants cause less overall pollution when used in EV’s than gas or diesel powered vehicles.

    Most new technologies will cause a decrease in workforce. That applies to everything beyond the automobile. The Canadian Government studied the effects of new technologies and found that in the next 20 years there will be at least 40% job loss among the workforce. Most of the people loosing jobs will be those without a skilled trade or post-secondary education. Those people will need to be transitioned to other forms of work.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Which is one reason why schools such as St Lawrence College in Kingston developed programs and faculties focused on building/servicing wind turbines and other ‘alternative’ sources of energy. Some of those programs are now being wound down, due to the Ford government’s decision to reduce and/or end subsidies for ‘green’ energy.

      Personally, I am for incinerating garbage/waste and using that to create electricity

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        With as much flaring that is done in Canada and North Dakota we could power a huge portion of the country using just waste. Transporting it is the problem.

        Goes to all of those asking why the recently updated nighttime map of the US shows an area in north west North Dakota that is brighter than Chicago.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Hummer – agreed. Flaring is a waste of resources. In Canada right now there has been a big fight over pipelines. Until we reach the tipping point towards “renewable’s” we need to use what we got.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            It’s hard to figure out what to do with it, no one except the saudis would run that nasty crap through a GE 7FA, and the amount of time and work building a steam turbine/boiler setup would take is ridiculous combined with the fact most of the oil is in Rural areas. Not to mention most modern steam turbines are utter crap that are being built so thin and so cheaply that they have very short lifespans.

            Piping it is a possibility but then wackos get upset about that, you can’t keep enough tankers in line fast enough to send it off by rail or road.

            Piping it to decommissioned (but not demolished) ex coal plants is by far the best answer. The likelihood of that however is slim.

      • 0 avatar

        If you want to know how recycling is done correctly study Sweden. Their goal is 100% recycling or utilization which means that nothing will go to landfill. They currently are somewhere at 90+%. But that model probably will not work in a big and diverse country like USA. May be in Canada? Imagine 6-8 recycling bins in you house and religiously following rules, cleaning plastic containers before disposal and etc.

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