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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the only way forward germany goes all in on evs

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]

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  • 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.'

  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.
  • Cardave5150 I've had 2 different 300's - an '08 300SRT and an '18 300C. Loved them both a LOT, although, by the time I had the second one, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the image of 300's out on the street, as projected by the 3rd or 4th buyers of the cars.I always thought that the car looked a little stubby behind the rear wheels - something that an extra 3-4" in the trunk area would have greatly helped.When the 300 was first launched, there were invitation-only meet-and-greets at the dealerships, reminding me of the old days when new model-year launches were HUGE. At my local dealer, they were all in formalwear (tuxes and elegant dresses) with a nice spread of food. They gave out crystal medallions of the 300 in a sweet little velvet box (I've got mine around the house somewhere). I talked to a sales guy for about 5 minutes before I asked if we could take one of the cars out (a 300C with the 5.7 Hemi). He acted like he'd been waiting all evening for someone to ask that - we jumped in the car and went out - that thing, for the time, seemed to fly.Corey - when it comes time for it, don't forget to mention the slightly-stretched wheelbase 300 (I think it was the 300L??). I've never found one for sale (not that I've looked THAT hard), as they only built them for a couple of years.
  • Jkross22 "I’m doing more for the planet by continuing to drive my vehicle than buying a new one for strictly frivolous reasons."It's not possible to repeat this too much.
  • Jeff S Got to give credit to Chrysler for putting the 300 as a rear wheel drive back on the market. This will be a future classic.