The Only Way Forward? Germany Goes All-in on EVs

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Germany isn’t fooling around anymore. Electric cars are going to become the norm, and that’s final.

After pledging last year to boost electric vehicle subsidies by 50 percent over the first half of the decade, Germany has doubled down on its EV efforts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re in the market for a gas-free car, expect the government to fill your pocket with cash. If you’re the buyer (or the maker) of a gas-guzzling SUV, look out.

Depending on which source you read, EVs made up only 1.8 to 3 percent of the country’s new car registrations in 2019, which is still better than most other countries. EV adoption was on the rise, even as overall new vehicle sales fell. Obviously, the pandemic will fudge 2020’s numbers.

Announced Thursday, Germany will foist a new tax structure on internal combustion vehicles, double the subsidy it hands to EV buyers, and foster the creation of electric vehicle charging stations in as many locales as possible. There’ll be no excuse not to own one, you hear?

It’s all part of a stimulus package worth nearly $146 billion. Per Reuters, vehicles that emit more than 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre will see their motor vehicle tax rise come January 2021. That net captures plenty of vehicles, given that the average per-kilometre emissions of a German vehicle is more than 150 grams. In May, that level rose to nearly 155 grams. While the levels are not yet set in stone, the more a vehicle pollutes, the more it will be penalized.

In a bid to get more buyers into small German-built cars, the country will lower its value added tax on those vehicles from 19 percent to 16 percent. At the same time, government incentives for EVs will rise to more than $6,700 for vehicles costing less than $45,000. That subsidy combines with a manufacturer incentive worth nearly $3,400, pushing EV prices down considerable. Ritzier EVs with higher MSRPs will still see government spiffs, just not as lucrative for the buyer.

The country wants customers to walk into dealerships knowing they can drive away in an EV and plug in anywhere. Otherwise, the whole thing won’t work. Now, Germany has put up money to have all of the country’s gas stations install an EV charging station.

BDEW, the German Association of Energy, estimates that Germany hosted less than 28,000 EV plug-in points in March. To make EV ownership viable for all, there would need to be 70,000, it said. Pushing gas station to add a plug, if not a full-on fast-charge station, would boost that roster by more than 14,000.

Elsewhere in the broad plan are billions set aside to get diesel-powered buses (either privately or publicly owned) off the road.

[Image: Porsche AG]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
3 of 34 comments
  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Jun 04, 2020

    Total perversion, indeed. Like Ethanol for vehicle fuel.

    • Old_WRX Old_WRX on Jun 04, 2020

      I'll bet the whole time during this CV19 pan(dem)ic todo when you couldn't by isopropanol (or hand sanitizer) for sanitizing things ethanol (an excellent substitute) was being dumped in gasoline by the millions of gallons.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Jun 04, 2020

    I just surprised there isn't a huge argument going on about government skewing 'the market.'

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.
  • Geozinger Up until recently this was on my short list of cars to replace my old car. However, it didn't pass the "knee test" with my wife as her bad knee makes it difficult for her to get in and out of a sedan. I saw a number of videos about the car and it seems like the real deal as a sporting sedan. In addition I like the low price, too, but it was bad luck/timing that we didn't get to pull the trigger on this one.
  • ToolGuy I agree with everyone here. Of course there are exceptions to what I just said, don't take everything so literally. The important thing is that I weighed in with my opinion, which is helping to move things forward. I believe we can all agree that I make an important contribution (some will differ, that is their prerogative). A stitch in time saves nine. Life isn't fair, you know. I have more to say but will continue at our next meeting. You can count on that, for I am a man of my word. We will make it happen. There might be challenges. I mean, it is what it is. This too shall pass. All we can do is all we can do. These meetings are never really long enough for me to completely express all the greatness within me, are they? Let's meet to discuss. All in a day's work. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. At the end of the day, I must say I agree with you. I think you will agree. When all is said and done, there is more said than done. But of course that is just one man's opinion. You are free to disagree. As I like to say...(I am working on my middle management skills -- how am I doing?)
  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.