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Tax benefits for electric vehicles are the better choice

The target is ambitious: There should be around one million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020. For this to succeed, the ZVEI calls for better support for research and business, as well as tax concessions for buyers.

The ZVEI calls on politics to support the process of the introduction and networking of electro-mobility in Germany.
© Birgit Reitz-Hofmann - Fotolia
The ZVEI calls on politics to support the process of the introduction and networking of electro-mobility in Germany.

Electric vehicles currently face a difficult task in Germany: The range is too short, the cost too high and the political will to implement the new technologies somewhat lacking. By the beginning of 2012, only 4,541 electric vehicles were registered in Germany, although 47,642 hybrid vehicles were also on the roads. Measured against the total vehicle population of 51.7 million, this is an infinitesimal percentage. The target of the Federal Government, which is to get one million electric vehicles on the roads by 2020, and even six million by 2030, seems utopian in light of these figures.

In order to change this, the ZVEI calls on politics to support the process of the introduction and networking of electro-mobility in Germany. Nor must it be overlooked that it is the market and the customers who will ultimately decide on the success or failure of E-mobility.

Politics must invest

The strongest arguments which currently mitigate against buying an electric car are the higher price compared to conventional diesel or petrol vehicles and the short range, which is still too low for everyday use. Consequently, the ZVEI called on politics to act. Setting the market in motion and establishing new technologies in electro-mobility will in particular require greater support of research to improve the storage technology and the methods of battery production.

In addition Germany, which is generally committed to environmentally-friendly electro-mobility, must also act as an example and purchase more electric vehicles for the fleets of the parliament and government. A funding programme of the KfW, a development bank, could be conceivable. Within a few years, this would create a second-hand market for the trade in electric-powered vehicles at affordable prices.

Continuity is important in the promised funding of electro-mobility amounting to € 1 billion. The ZVEI therefore calls on the Federal Government to make this support available now. Currently, budgetary matters and the surprisingly low cash flow from the auctioning of emission certificates are preventing the rapid allocation of funds.

Regenerative electricity for electric cars

In order to make the electric cars really attractive for environmentally-conscious customers, the electricity must come from renewable sources. For this purpose, the expansion and conversion of the power grid into a smart grid must be speeded up, so that it can handle the supply of renewable energy. In order to be able to cushion load peaks better, electric cars can assume an important role as a storage facility. The German Electrical Industry is also a leader in this technology.

For a faster market penetration, the electric car, from the Association's point of view, does not need state aid in the form of a purchase premium for the end customer because this will not directly further the progress of the underlying technologies. Instead we favour tax incentives to promote their operation (company car tax, road tax exemption, advantages in road traffic, priority regulations for electric cars in public parking areas with recharging points, etc.). The Minister of Transport's initiative to introduce transferable license plates is to be welcomed. This was already called for by the ZVEI at the 2009 Bundestag election.

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