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

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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.'

  • Jeff Glad that GM still makes a car for enthusiasts. Maybe if Chris is lucky he could get his hands on one it would make a good car review.
  • Tsarcasm Someone tell soft skull (musk) about the moss magnuson warranty act
  • Ajla Nice car.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Not at all.
  • Verbal Here's a little tale about long-term Tesla ownership.In 2017 my buddy bought a three year-old Model S for $68k, which was the going rate at the time. He kept it garaged and treated it with kid gloves. It looked and ran virtually like new. The only problem he ever had with it was some kind of recurring issue with the driver's door handle. He never had to replace the brakes.A couple months ago, at ten years of age, the original battery finally bricked. Tesla quoted him $17k to do a battery replacement. But! If he replaced the battery, they would give him $11k in trade on a new Tesla!!! You don't have to be a math genius to see that those are crooked numbers.Using aftermarket parts is a non starter. Rebuilt batteries can be sketch. And the cap that goes on the battery is a Tesla-only part.Most people don't have $17k burning a hole in their pocket for a car repair. What are you going to do? Ask your credit union for a $17k loan to put a new battery in your ten year-old car? Good luck with that.A local auto recycler quoted him $1000. The recycler said that if he replaced the battery, the car would have a resale value in the low $20k's. That wouldn't give him enough headroom to make it worth his while. He said there are 150,000 dead Teslas in the national inventory (don't know where he gets this figure). And there's no demand for used Tesla parts, since most Tesla owners seem to treat their cars well. So Teslas with dead batteries have marginal scrap value.Thus, my friend's Tesla, with 80k miles on the clock and in excellent condition, with a dead battery, was scrapped. During his ownership, the car depreciated by around $800 a month.He saved a lot of money by not paying for gas, oil changes, tune ups, and consumables. But in the end, all those saving were erased by huge depreciation.Welcome to long term Tesla ownership, folks.(Cue the wailing and rending of garments from the Tesla fanboyz.)