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Topic - Electric Mobility

Electric mobility in Germany


Electric mobility offers enormous potential – enabling better climate protection, the launch of new market, and less dependence on fossil fuels. It is one of the key forward-looking technologies for German industry. But electric vehicles can also play an important role in 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 1 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

Electric mobility is understandably high up on the agenda of the Federal Government. The target is not only to make Germany a lead market for electric mobility. The idea is also to spur innovation in the German vehicle, driveline, and components industries in order to ensure that electric vehicles are integrated in the electricity grids and the transport networks, thereby securing 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 these on the German and international markets.

Where do we stand today?

At the beginning of 2016, 29 different electric vehicle models produced by German manufacturers were already available on the market, as well as 16 models from foreign manufacturers. During the National Conference on Electric Mobility in June 2015, Minister Gabriel stressed how important it is to develop a charging infrastructure, as well as easy to use charging and billing systems.

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.

Overall, the government will be providing 2.2 billion euros for R&D up to 2017. Funding for this is a joint task, with various funding areas split between four Federal Ministries. An overview of this can be found on the website Federal Funding Advisory Service (in German), which is a central point of contact for companies and research institutions, providing advice and guidance on funding for electric mobility.

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 Government is taking the necessary steps to create a regulatory environment in which electric mobility can thrive and also to create incentives to strengthen the demand for electric vehicles. This includes uniform charging standards as well as privileges for electric car owners, for example when parking.

Market incentive package: a bonus for the environment, expansion of the charging infrastructure and public procurement

Electric mobility will be driven forward through an extensive package of measures. The focus is on three measures with financial impacts: purchase incentives with a limited time period, expansion of the charging infrastructure, and the public procurement of electric vehicles.

  • Funding of 4,000 euros will be provided for the purchase of all-electric vehicles and of 3,000 euros for plug-in hybrids, provided that the cost of the vehicle is no greater than 60,000 euros. Consumers may apply for the environmental bonus directly at the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (in German).
  • The Federal Government also provides funding of up to 300 million euros for the expansion of rapid and normal charging stations. The goal is to make many more of these complex and expensive rapid charging stations available on major transport routes and in large cities by 2020.
  • The share of electric vehicles that the Federal Government plans to procure is to be raised to at least 20% by 2019, with 100 million euros to be provided for this purpose.
  • Tax motor vehicle tax exemption period is to be extended from a current five years, up to a total of 10 years.

Creating and updating the legal framework

In 2016, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is putting its focus on the policy conditions for the development of the charging infrastructure. The 2016 Charging Station Ordinance (in German, PDF: 75 KB) stipulates binding technical requirements for charging sockets and vehicle couplers for the charging of electric vehicles, as well as how technical safety measures are to be complied with.

More information on incentives and policy conditions can be found 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

A globally unique forum: the National Platform on Electric Mobility includes the entire value chain: within this forum, business representatives, scientists, and lawmakers work together very closely to make Germany the lead market for electric vehicles.

The National Platform on Electric Mobility (NPE) has been set up to coordinate the development of electric mobility in Germany. This advisory group of the Federal Government brings together 150 business representatives, researchers, policy makers as well as union and association representatives for strategic discussions. Together, they ascertain the economic, social and environmental potential of electric mobility and develop recommendations for action for government and business. More on the organisation of the NPE can be found here.

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

  • The pre-market phase, which lasted up to the end of 2014, is about using R&D projects to pave the way for electric mobility to be taken to the next level.
  • During the three years that follow, the range of vehicles and the necessary infrastructure will be expanded considerably.
  • From 2018, this should allow for the development of what is to become a mass market.

Progress report takes stock

The fourth progress report (in German) was handed over to Chancellor Merkel and the two ministers with lead responsibility Sigmar Gabriel (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) and Alexander Dobrindt (Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure) in December 2014. This report brings to a conclusion the pre-market phase of the NPE (2010 - 2014) and shows its current status. At the same time, it offers proposals for the ramp-up phase of production (2015 - 2017) on how Germany can reach its goals to become the international lead provider and lead market for electric mobility by 2020.

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 (in German, PDF: 327 KB). 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.

Further information

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