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Topic - Electric Mobility

Electric mobility in Germany


Combating climate change, new markets, less dependence on fossil fuels: mobility will be rethought in future. The development of electric mobility is a key forward-looking issue for German industry. In fact, electric vehicles can become a key element of the energy transition.

Electric mobility is key for creating climate-friendly mobility worldwide. Electric vehicles release far less carbon emissions, especially when using electricity produced from renewables. Additionally, electric vehicles can offset the fluctuations in wind and solar power thanks to their energy storage capabilities. They can thus help these volatile energy sources to be expanded and integrated into the market. The target is to get one million electric vehicles onto the roads in Germany by 2020. In order to do this, the Federal Government is creating important framework conditions and incentives for industry and consumer alike.

Successfully bringing electric mobility onto the market

Mobility will be rethought in future. The entire auto industry is facing a massive change which will require it to be innovative. This target is not only about making Germany a lead market for electric mobility. The idea is to spur innovation in the German vehicles, driveline, and components industries, to ensure that electric vehicles are integrated in the electricity grids and the transport networks, and to thereby secure Germany’s position as a lead technology provider for electric mobility. This also means that German industry is called upon to maintain its reputation for technological excellence in the field of electric mobility, and to successfully sell its electric vehicles and the systems, components and services associated with them on the German and international markets.

Where do we stand today?

At present (August 2017) there are 60 different models of electric vehicles on the market, and they can be charged up at some 9,000 charging points. In order to make the use of electric vehicles more attractive, the Federal Government adopted additional measures to provide a stimulus for electric mobility on 18 May 2016. The package of measures consists of temporary purchase incentives, additional funding for the expansion of the charging infrastructure, more efforts regarding the purchase of electric vehicles by public authorities, and tax measures. Further information can be found here.

Facts and figures on electric mobility

Symbolicon für Elektroauto

different electric car models
were on the German market at the beginning of 2017.

Symbolicon für Zielscheibe

million electric vehicles
are expected to be on Germany's roads by 2020.

Symbolicon für Geld

billion euros
have been earmarked by the German federal government until 2017 for research and development in the field of electric mobility.

Symbolicon für Leuchtturm

flagship projects
have received awards from the federal government since 2012.

Funding technologies

Strengthening R&D for electric mobility

In order to bring electric mobility onto the roads, the Federal Government is promoting R&D through a range of different technology-neutral and application-oriented programmes.

The goal of the Federal Government is to make Germany the lead market and lead provider of electric mobility. Electrical vehicles must successfully compete against other drive concepts, especially in regard to cost and operating range. In order to make them competitive, we must continue to pursue innovative R&D at a high level.

In total, the Federal Government has provided over 1.5 billion euros for research and development since 2009, and the ongoing support for the development of electric mobility is continuing in 2017, with funding of €210 billion.

Funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is providing funding for R&D work on all aspects of electric mobility, including drive technology, battery research, standardisation, the value chain, grid integration, charging stations that use smart metering technology, and infrastructure.

Find out more about the funding here.

Creating infrastructures

Creating incentives and setting framework conditions

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has long been an advocate of a range of measures to accelerate the development of the market for electric mobility. The comprehensive package of measures aims to assist the market ramp-up of electric mobility. The focus is on three measures with a financial impact: temporary purchase incentives, the expansion of the charging infrastructure, and the purchase of electric vehicles by public authorities.

  • Environmental bonus: The Federal Government has earmarked a maximum of €600 million to support the purchase of at least 300,000 electric vehicles by 2019. The carmakers are contributing an equal amount. A bonus of €4,000 is paid for the purchase of a new all-electric vehicle. Buyers of plug-in hybrid vehicles receive a bonus of € 3,000. Applications for the environmental bonus can be submitted directly to the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control.
  • Support for the roll-out of charging stations: The Federal Government is providing €300 million in funding to promote the roll-out of rapid and standard recharging points. The goal: Many more rapid recharging points, which are particularly expensive, are to be available along the major transport routes and in the big cities by 2020.
  • More electric vehicles in the public-sector vehicle fleet: The public sector will set a good example by increasing the number of electric vehicles in its fleet. The share of electric vehicles to be purchased by the Federal Government is to rise to at least 20% by 2019. €100 million has been earmarked for this.
  • Extension of the vehicle tax exemption: from five to ten years.

Legal framework for future mobility

Optimum use of electric mobility requires uniform charging and payment standards. For this purpose, the Federal Government has adopted the Charging Station Ordinance. It stipulates the technical requirements for charging sockets and connectors of electric vehicles to guarantee technical safety.

The next step will be to harmonise authentication and payment at charging stations. The amendment of the Charging Station Ordinance created minimum payment standards, thus ensuring non-discriminatory access to charging facilities. On 12 May, the Bundesrat therefore approved the amending regulation on the second Charging Station Ordinance submitted by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The change in the Charging Station Ordinance regulates the so-called selective loading procedure, which is to abolish the dependency on the current provider’s billing system. After the Charging Station Ordinance enters into force, electric vehicle users can charge their vehicles at all publicly accessible charging stations using a common web-based payment system (for example via an app). They can pay in cash or via an EC / credit card.

You can find out more about incentives and framework conditions here.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the purchase grant for electric vehicles

How much money do you receive as environmental bonus for electric vehicles?

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When can the environmental bonus be applied for?

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How can I apply for the environmental bonus?

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National Platform on Electric Mobility

Government, industry and research all sat at one table

The National Electric Mobility Platform is a unique forum worldwide. It covers the whole value chain: representatives of industry, science and government are working closely together to make Germany the lead market for electric vehicles.

The National Electric Mobility Platform (NPE) coordinates the development of electric mobility in Germany. In the context of this body, which provides advice to the Federal Government, around 150 representatives of industry, science, government, trade unions and associations come together for a strategic dialogue. They discuss the economic, social and ecological potential of electric mobility and submit recommendations for action to the government and the business community. You can find out more about the National Electric Mobility Platform (NPE) here.

Three stages have been defined to ensure that Germany succeeds in becoming a lead market for electric mobility:

  • The 'pre-market phase' served to pave the way for electric mobility in the context of research and development projects.
  • During the ensuing market ramp-up, the range of vehicles and the necessary infrastructure are being expanded considerably. Then a mass market is to be developed.

The National Electric Mobility Platform monitors compliance with the goals to be reached by 2020

By submitting its fourth progress report, which was handed over to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt in December 2014, the NPE confirmed completion of the pre-market phase. In the report, the NPE also submits proposals for the market ramp-up phase on how Germany can reach its 2020 goals to become the global lead supplier and the lead market for electric mobility.

Woman; Source: mauritius images/Cultura

© mauritius images/Cultura

Showcases and lighthouse projects

Experience the future of electric mobility

In the globally unique programme ‘Showcases on Electric Mobility’, the Federal Ministries for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding innovative companies and research institutions together with the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The goal of the showcase is to pool German capabilities in the areas of electric vehicles, energy supply and transport across all systems in large-scale regional demonstration and pilot projects and to make them visible. The public sector, in close cooperation with industry and research, is testing innovative elements of electric mobility. These elements can be directly experienced by the public and are to stimulate national and international demand.

Following the recommendation of an independent expert jury, four large regional demonstration projects were selected as showcases for electric mobility:

In the four showcase regions, 90 collaborative projects including 334 sub-projects of the Federal Government as well as further projects of the Länder governments and other partners are being supported between 2012 and 2016. In total, they provide around 180 million euros for the programme. The total investment volume for the projects - including the investments of the project partners - stands at just under 300 million euros. The ‘Electric Mobility Showcases’ results conference in Leipzig, which was attended by 800 people, not only showed the innovative added value of services in the field of electric mobility from the showcase regions, but also provided the opportunity to experience electric mobility being used in the private and industrial sector - from the light-weight Pedelec to a heavy-duty aircraft tractor.

Lighthouses: Outstanding R&D projects for electric mobility

Projects that stand out within their field for their exceptional quality are grouped together in what are called lighthouse projects. The designation as a lighthouse project is a true seal of quality which is awarded for game-changing innovative work that delivers technical advances or helps bring down the cost of electric mobility. A total of 22 lighthouse projects have been designated by the Federal Government since 2012.

Lighthouse projects exist for the following areas:

  • transmission technology (e.g. vehicle as a whole, transmission technology, manufacturing technology, lightweight construction);
  • energy systems and energy storage (e.g. materials development, fuel cell technology and batteries, modular manufacturing technology, safety, security, and lifetime);
  • charging infrastructure and grid integration, (e.g. smart grids, recuperation of energy, energy transfer via induction, rapid-charging systems);
  • mobility concepts (e.g. systems based on electric buses);
  • recycling and resource efficiency; and
  • information and communication technology.

The lighthouse projects see various scientific institutions, numerous SMEs, and large companies work together. The projects within each lighthouse project and the lighthouse projects themselves are closely interconnected. This interdisciplinary and cross-sector approach is essential in order to achieve the goals and targets set for electric mobility. The last group of outstanding technology projects to be adopted under the scheme, which brings together seven different titles, was announced at last year’s National Electric Mobility Conference (in German) from 15 - 16 June 2015 in Berlin.

Icon of an electric vehicle; Source: Getty Images/Lya_Cattel