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Germany mulling €2 billion incentives for electric vehicles

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CleanTechnica

A BMW i3 electric vehicle is charged at a public charging point in Munich, Germany. Shuttershock

A BMW i3 electric vehicle is charged at a public charging point in Munich, Germany. Shuttershock

Germany is considering providing 2 billion euros to subsidize the purchasing of more electric cars. German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is behind the idea, which also includes adding more EV charging stations and supporting the acquisition of more electric vehicles for federal offices.

One might expect it would be an individual from an environmental government department who came up with such an idea, because electric vehicles are better for the environment, but the German government in general is getting more supportive of EVs. It wants one million of them on the roads by 2020, which is obviously just four years away. (One source estimatedthat there may be another 950,000 which need to be sold to reach the goal.)

As was mentioned before, Gabriel’s idea is not only something which is environmentally conscious, because presumably many of the newly purchased electric vehicles would be German-made. Encouraging the purchase of vehicles manufactured in Germany with a subsidy would be good for companies like BMW and Volkswagen, which already make EVs but are planning to introduce a lot more models.

Of course, EVs are better for human health too because they produce no tailpipe emissions, so German urban air quality would most likely improve. In fact, if a household had enough solar power, it might generate enough electricity to charge an EV at home with clean, renewable electricity.

Scenarios involving clean electricity to charge the batteries of vehicles that produce no tailpipe emissions might sound idealistic or fantastic. However, areas within Germany already generate high levels of clean, renewable electricity, so there is no reason why it can’t be used to power electric vehicles.

Electric cars are part of the energy puzzle that Germany has been working steadily to solve by reducing the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power.


One fascinating thing about a scenario where there are one million electric vehicles in a nation is that they can function as a sort of energy storage system. In other words, they can store electricity when they are not be driven. Additionally, if a homeowner has a solar power system but no battery storage, the battery in her or his EV could store some of the excess electricity generated by it (theoretically).

If 2 billion euros are invested in this EV subsidy, there are likely to be a number of wins: reducing air pollution which contributes to smog, reducing climate change emissions, moving the nation further along a path towards clean electricity, and supporting German auto manufacturers and their employees.

Source: CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission.

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  • Beat Odermatt

    It would be great for Australia to do a similar scheme. Much of our money spent on petrol or diesel is supporting non-democratic regimes in the Middle East. It would be far wiser to use the money to get free clean from the sun and help our own economy.
    Why not free inner City Parking for EV vehicles like in Norway?

    • Jacob

      Federal politicians in AUS seem to be unable/unwilling to make common sense laws.

      Hong Kong exempts electric cars from tax. Delhi exempts them from VAT.

      AUS is too stupid to.

  • Phil Gorman

    Where oh where can our governments be on this issue? Australia’s sun and wind resources are world leading, We have the science, technology and manufacturing capacity to spare. Only our so called leaders are lacking in the ability to take up such a golden opportunity for the nation.

    Tasmania would be a very good place for state and federal seed funding to kick start an electric vehicle revolution. What is is to stop us?

  • HO

    Killing the goose that lays the golden eggs(gas taxes) ?

  • Geoff

    Unless the electricity used to charge the cars is generated by nuclear or hydro then there are no greenhouse savings. France has a number of electric car rentals set up similar to “Boris” bikes in UK. The fact that France generates more than 75% of its electricity from a network of 50 or so clean energy nuclear power plants this means the electric cars are charged with clean energy. Germany is closing its nuclear plants and replacing them with coal plants to generate their electricity. The flaws in the electric cars is pretty obvious. Solar panels are not suitable for car charging as mostly cars will be charged at night. Using solar energy stored in Tesla style batteries to charge car batteries at night is not a viable option of course.

    • Charles

      Myth. Busted many times. Even a coal powered electric car is better for the environment than a petrol powered car.

    • Beat Odermatt

      There are many ways to generate more clean power and solar panels on cars can help. Most cars are parked outside during the day and most travelling is done duration the day. Don’t be so pessimistic.

    • Chris B

      It’s a real shame that it can’t work because central Europe has enormous wind resources and rainfall. If only we had some sort of dispatchable network of reservoirs and electrochemical devices that excess wind generated in the evening and sunlight generated in the day could be stored in…

  • Robert Comerford

    Until the day the average aussie voter can be convinced that it is in their own financial interest to reject fossil fuels and embrace renewables the idea that our natural advantage in solar and wind power will give us plenty of clean jobs will remain just an idea.
    A country like this should be producing its own cars, both electric and flex fuel hybrid, with the liquid fuel coming from a renewable source; but I am not holding my breath.

    This is a good opportunity for VW to clean up its act, get back some credibility and attempt to be the major supplier in Germany.