What can we learn from Germany about EV adoption?

 In EV Industry

Home to the most beloved fossil-fueled car brands, Germany has been lagging behind in EV adoption.

 As of the beginning of 2018, Germany had over 41 millions cars on the roads, and less than 100 000 of them were electric. 

But is the motherland of Mercedes and Volkswagen really losing the EV race? Not exactly. Even though the overwhelming majority of Germans still drive combustion engine cars, the plans are to put over 1 million EVs on the road by 2020. And Germany sure does have a cohesive strategy to make plug-in future happened. 

How will this ambitious goal be achieved? What can we learn from Germany about the EV adoption? Keep reading to get these questions answered.

Boosting electric vehicle adoption through incentives

Though not the fastest growing EV market in the world, Germany is catching up quickly. In the summer 2016 German government partnered with the top local car manufacturers and released an EV incentive scheme worth about €1 billion. Under the EV adoption program, buyers of fully electric cars get €4,000 off their purchase. PHEVs’ owners are also incentified with a €3,000 bonus when shopping for a car.

However, not all of the car owners who choose EVs over gas-powered vehicles are provided with a major cash incentive. Luxury vehicles costing more than  €60,000 are left out of the program completely (some Tesla owners even were asked to pay the €4,000 incentive back). The bonuses for corporate plug-in fleet are even more impressive. You can get up to €8,000 discount on the zero-emission car and up to €7,500 on a plug-in hybrid vehicle if you are purchasing it for your business. By running an Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment (EVSA), these organizations are able to see exactly how much they would save by making the switch to electric.

Since the launch of the program in 2016, over 46 000 applications for plug-in vehicles subsidy were submitted.  Last year alone the EV sales in the country increased by  23%Clearly, strong financial incentives are what works the best, when it comes to zero-emission mobility uptake in Germany. However, there are also other incentives available for plug-in car owners. On top of the initial purchase bonus, local EV automobilists get an ownership tax exemption for ten years. Those behind the wheel of hybrid cars will also get a discount on the ownership tax based on the amount of the emission their car produces.

Making charging available

Because of the ambitious plan to have all newly made German vehicles emissions-free by 2030, Europe’s biggest car market works hard on developing EV charging infrastructure. Approximately 300 of Germany’s budget will be spent on building out a charging infrastructure for zero emission vehicles.

Private automakers like Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW also join their forces to build fast-charging networks along Germany’s highways. With a total budget of  40  million that they invested in EV technology development,  these car manufacturing giants plan to develop approximately 100 charging points by the end of 2018. 400 more EV charging stations will be installed by the year 2200.

Other non-car manufacturing private companies also step up to help to fill the charging void. Telekom, one of the biggest European telecommunications behemoths, plan to leverage their existing distribution boxes infrastructure to create more EV charging points. The telecommunication giant confirmed their plans to convert more than 12 000 of their outdated distribution boxes into fast-charging 22-100 kW stations.

German entrepreneurial startups do not lag behind either when it comes to developing EV infrastructure. Local startup Ubitricity has developed a revolutionary mobile charging technology that would enable EV owners to charge their cars and pay for the service from just about any outlet (yes, even from the lamp post). Ubitricity combines both a charging infrastructure and a metering software in one simple device.

Adjusting to zero-emission future

Even though German car manufacturers have until recently been reluctant about the EV production, they decided to go all in and conquer the world’s EV market. In fact, the study shows that German automakers are the biggest spenders on the planet when it comes to zero-emission technology development. Over the past few years, German car manufacturers invested over €4.7 billion in EV technology development.

To regain their edge in auto-manufacturing,  the world’s largest internal combustion car manufacturer, Volkswagen Group, plans to release at least one EV variant of over each of their 300 models in the near future.

Conquering an EV market also puts a lot of automotive jobs at risk. Approximately  75,000  workers who work on gearboxes and gas-fueled engines production will be out of work once the e-future arrives.

On the other hand, electric cars manufacturing requires 30% less time and labor work. This fact alone makes German’s ambitious zero emission goals achievable.

Clearly, the motherland of Mercedes and Volkswagen has been lagging behind in electric mobility adoption for years. Today, Germany is unapologetically catching up with the rest of the EV world by massively investing in the technology development. Way to go, Deutschland!

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