Transport policy

Alternative drives

The German government wants to see one million electric vehicles on Germany's roads by 2020. For the VDIK, the term electric vehicles includes all vehicles that can be charged on the grid and have a significant electric range.

Electrifying drives is not an end in itself, but necessary in order to keep mobility viable and affordable in the long term. Electric mobility will reduce oil dependency and make a significant contribution to meeting climate protection targets.

Future engines must be based on the principle of technology neutrality. The combustion engine - gasoline or diesel - will continue to maintain its leading position in the foreseeable future. Its efficiency will, however, be improved significantly in conjunction with natural gas, liquid gas, biofuels and increasing electrification of the drive train. Hybrid vehicles - especially those that can be recharged externally on the grid (plug-in) and have a reasonable electric range - are an important bridging technology towards the purely electric vehicle.

The fuel cell, too, will gain importance in the medium to long term as it will allow to extend the range. Of course, the hydrogen required for this technology is subject to the same demand as the power for electric vehicles. Both have to come from 100 percent renewable sources. The international motor vehicle manufacturers participate actively in the German government's "Clean Energy Partnership“ initiative (CEP).

The international motor vehicle manufacturers already have had market-ready electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids available for sale since the end of 2010. In Germany, the first EVs were delivered to customers in December 2010. The average car buyer has not yet discovered the electric car as an alternative. To overcome the consumer restraint, the VDIK member companies' line-up for private and commercial clients is being expanded significantly all the time.

The Federal Government is pursuing its objective to establish Germany as a leading market for electric mobility by introducing an environmental bonus for new electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles registered from May 18, 2016 onward. Pure electric and fuel cell vehicles will be eligible for a bonus of 4,000 Euro and plug-in hybrids for a bonus of 3,000 Euro, subject to the list price excluding taxes not exceeding 60,000 Euro for the base model. The incentive is funded in equal proportions by the automotive manufacturers and the Federal Government. Applications and payments are processed by the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA).

It has so far been observed that private and commercial customers are applying for the environmental bonus in roughly equal proportions. Both the supply and the demand for electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles has increased significantly since introduction of the incentive. The demand has however not yet increased strong enough to satisfy the target set out by the Federal Government.

All pure electric vehicles that fall within the definition stipulated by the Motor Vehicle Tax Act and were or will be registered between May 18, 2011 and December 31, 2020 will be exempt from the motor vehicle tax for a term of ten years. After that date, the applicable tax will be assessed on the basis of the vehicle weight, with the resultant tax amount being discounted by half. The VDIK is of the opinion that the currently applicable definition should be broadened to include vehicles that feature an option for external recharging and offer an appreciable range, for example plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Vehicles powered by natural or liquid gas benefit of a discounted energy tax. These benefits are however of a temporary nature and will expire on December 31, 2026 for natural gas used as fuel and on December 22, 2022 for liquid gas used as fuel.