Germany is joining the ranks of countries (e.g., US, UK, France, Japan, China, and India) that are debating the value of government subsidies and showing frustration with the turtle-like sales pace of electric vehicles (EVs). Germany has plans to subsidize EVs after its next general election to meet its target of one million (sound familiar?) units sold by 2020, but support may be waning. "The question of how we will tackle this during the next legislative period (starting late 2013) and whether one needs more incentives – that will be decided when the time has come," said Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The German government has committed to invest 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion US at current exchange rates) of federal research spending on electric cars and battery technology. The government is looking at additional options such as granting vehicle tax exemptions for 10 years to owners who buy their fossil fuel-free cars before December 31, 2015.
There could be more political infighting over the ambitious one million EV plan, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. There's been a report from the Ministry for Education and Research floating around that may recommend that the one million EV plan be scrapped. A spokesman from the ministry acknowledged the report's existence, but wouldn't confirm its content.
The newspaper says that other ministries share the skepticism surrounding the timeline, with Environment Minister Peter Altmaier acknowledging problems with EVs. Economy Minister Philipp Roesler has also refused to support incentives. The German government seems to be experiencing what other countries with big automotive economies are going through. They're no longer having a crush on the first wave of EVs, and long-term commitment is in question.