Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: March 21, 2024
Inés Platini
By Inés Platini
Germany flag

Will Germany remain one of the eMobility leaders following the elimination of incentives?

After the removal of the environmental bonus for the purchase of EVs at the end of 2023, Germany began the year with the additional news regarding the potential reduction of funding for electric trucks and buses. What will be the trajectory of the eMobility transition in the country?
Anja Zeller-Mobility Portal Europe-Germany
Anja Zeller, Transport Policy Spokesperson for VCD Hessen e.V.

The landscape in the 2024 following the reduction and elimination of incentives provided by the federal government to promote the eMobility transition in Germany could have consequences in the adoption of electric vehicles.

“The shift towards electric mobility in the country is occurring at a notably slow pace,” states Anja Zeller, Transport Policy Spokesperson for VCD Hessen e.V., in conversation with Mobility Portal Europe.

Anja Zeller, Transport Policy Spokesperson for VCD Hessen e.V.

In 2023, the nation recorded a total of 609 heavy electric trucks, representing a 256.1 per cent increase compared to the preceding year, while 2,169 eTrucks were registered, reflecting a surge of 169.8 per cent.

According to data provided by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), 835 eBuses were recorded, representing a 29.3 per cent growth in comparison to 2022.

Regarding Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), the year concluded with a total of 524,219 registered units, reflecting a rise of 11.4 per cent, out of the 15 million target that the country must reach by 2030.

However, despite this growth, Zeller contends that despite China leading the transition, it is plausible that other nations may assume the leadership position held by Germany this year.

This, in turn, could impact the European Union’s position in this progression, especially considering the registration data of 2023, where eCar sales in December decreased for the first time since April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Registrations fell by 16.9 per cent to 160,700 units, and according to ACEA, this decline can be attributed to comparatively strong performance in December 2022, as well as a significant deceleration in Germany (-47.6 per cent), the largest market for this energy source.

Despite this, the total volume for the entire last year surpassed 1.5 million units, reflecting a substantial increase of 37 per cent compared to 2022, with BEV market share reaching 14.6 per cent.

The electric trucks and buses sector also grew with Germany at the forefront.

This year is already another story.

Recently, the Federal Ministry for Digitalisation and Transport (BMDV) has granted the final funding calls for buses with alternative propulsion.

Thus, 53.4 million euros will be allocated to 11 companies and two districts in the country for the acquisition of a total of 186 vehicles and associated infrastructure.

However, as reported by Electrive, the government will no longer finance eBuses or eTrucks.

Projects that have already been approved will continue to be fully subsidized.

Due to budget consolidation and investment prioritization, not all financing programs can be maintained as planned.

Not only that, but in December 2023, the German Minister of Economy, Robert Habeck, announced the end of the environmental bonus for the purchase of electric vehicles for both companies and individuals.

Consequently, according to the latest figures published by the Federal Highway Transport Authority (KBA), 49,953 BEVs have been sold so far in 2024, 1.3 per cent less than in the same period in 2022.

Despite this, German manufacturers have taken the lead and opted to reduce prices of their electric models, meaning that the market adjusts its prices when subsidies disappear.

Thomas Schäfer, CEO of the Volkswagen brand.

Just a few days ago, Thomas Schäfer, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Volkswagen brand, announced plans to launch an eCar costing 20,000 euros.

So, are incentives required to continue driving the transition forward?

“In principle, the conversion should do without subsidies. Dealerships have already responded with their own discounts,” says Anja Zeller.

And she explains: “The positive aspects of the transition should also be monetarily valued and included in the price.”

In this regard, is the German government doing everything necessary to achieve the zero-emissions goal set by the European Union?

According to Zeller, the answer is a resounding no.

To foster this change, “precise political decisions are needed to provide manufacturers with clarity.”

Additionally, promoting the expansion of charging infrastructure, implementing speed limits, removing privileges for car drivers, and increasing the promotion of walking and cycling transportation are essential.

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