Germany Joins EV Bandwagon

By Brendan Moore

08.20.2009

german-flagGermany announced plans yesterday to have more than a million electric cars on the road by 2020.

The German government stated that they intend to make development of EV technology a priority, and want to establish Germany as the technology leader in electric vehicles.

With that in mind, the government has set aside 500 million euros ($705 million USD) for a start on that initiative, with the bulk of the money going for charging station infrastructure and research. The move was immediately criticized for being too vague and too little.

Many industry analysts and industry executives expect that electric vehicles to account for less than 5% of all vehicles on the road in Europe in 2020, even with government prodding and government funding factored into the mix. Germany alone, for instance, has 41 million cars on their roads right now. Less than 1500 of those are electric cars, and many of the 1500 are small “city” cars that are popular in Europe, but are not usually used for anything except short urban commutes.

The situation is similar to the one that exists in the US market, with President Obama stating that he wants one million electric vehicles and hybrids on the road by 2015, which sounds like a big step until you compare it to the number of cars currently on the road in the US – 250 million.

Nonetheless, it was all smiles for the cameras in Germany after the cabinet approved the plan and the initiative was announced.

“It is our aim to make Germany into the market leader for electric mobility,” stated Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the economy minister. He added that the one million electric cars by 2020 “is an ambitious aim, but one that we believe can be realized.”

Germany has more than a reduction in the dependence on oil at stake in this effort – the German car industry has a keen interest in being at the forefront of whatever technology is used for propelling automobiles, so if that technology is battery technology, then the German auto industry wants to be the leader in same.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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4 Comments

  1. The Germans should worry, because they’re behind in battery technology as a nation.

    It’s the Americans, the French, the Chinese, and then the Japanese and then the Germans. They need to get going on batteries. They’re a long way down the list.

    I see Mercedes did that deal with Tesla, that was smart.

  2. It’s Germany and America neck and neck in hydogen-powered cars, and no one else is even close to those two.

  3. Toyota has some very good hydrogen vehicle prototypes, but, yes, the other Japanese companies have ignored the technology.

  4. Not necessarily completely true, Alec – Honda has a fleet of hydrogen-fueled fuel cell FCX Clarity cars on lease in California. Assuming that the driving experience is similar to driving one of GM’s Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell prototypes, they’re closer to an EV than to something like a hydrogen-fueled BMW 7-series, which consumes hydrogen through a traditional internal combustion process.

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