The German government believes that it will still be able to get hundreds of thousands of electric cars onto domestic roads by 2020. But it acknowledges that the project has sputtered somewhat in the early stages.
Having one million electric cars on Germany roads by 2020 is more than just wishful thinking, German government leaders said on Monday during a high-level meeting with scientists and representatives from industry.
"It won't be easy to achieve that goal, but it would be wrong to give up at a stage where there are still eight years of hard work ahead of us," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the gathering in Berlin. She noted that readjusted estimates currently allowed for about 600,000 green vehicles to be registered in Germany over the next eight years. "As for the remainder, we'll have to work hard," Merkel said, albeit adding that there would be no buyer's premium to help the course.
Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer and Economy Minister Philipp Rösler earlier on Monday said they did not think offering a state-subsidized premium to prospective buyers would go a long way towards stimmulating sales of electric cars.
Banking on other incentives
"Only the market itself and competition are the best drivers for innovation," Rösler told the daily newspaper Rheinische Post ahead of Monday's electromobility summit. But at the beginning of this year Germany had only 4,500 all-electric vehicles among its total fleet of 43 million registered cars.
The government has been financially supporting research in the field. It also confirmed that legislation to grant owners of electric vehicles tax breaks would be passed by the national parliament by the end of 2012.
The head of the Federation of German Automobile Industry (VDA), Matthias Wissmann, had said earlier in the year that German manufacturers would be able to offer 15 different models of all-electric vehicles by 2014.