5th eMobility Summit in Berlin: 29 German volume models by end of 2015
“When it comes to electric mobility, Germany is in a good position. Last year German manufacturers had 17 volume models in the showrooms, and this year twelve more are set to follow. From small cars all the way to sports models, electric mobility is present in almost all segments. No other automotive nation has such a wide range,” said Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), at the opening of the 5th eMobility Summit in Berlin, which is organized by the German newspaper “Tagesspiegel.”
Despite the broad range on offer, the German market for e-vehicles was still modest in comparison with other countries, Wissmann explained. At the beginning of the year there were 25,337 electric vehicles on German roads. In order to boost demand, the VDA president called for a policy that was urgently needed to provide incentives and stimulate the market. The German Electric Mobility Act was a good start, he stated, adding that more action had to follow. “We are appealing for measures that provide impetus, avoid a subsidy competition, and are classical tax policy instruments.”
An effective point of leverage would be 50-percent depreciation for electric company cars in their first year of use, because the commercial sector makes up around 60 percent of the new car market. Wissmann said, “Electric vehicles can be used especially economically as company cars, because on average they cover mileages over 50 percent greater than private passenger cars, and can therefore amortize the higher procurement costs through lower consumption and maintenance costs. But not only the fleet operators should take action –private businesses should also do their bit. And the public sector should set a good example by renewing its own fleets.”
Wissmann perceives a need to catch up with the infrastructure, too. Currently there are 5,500 public charging points in Germany. “We will soon need twice that number,” the VDA president said. “The more vehicles there are coming onto the roads, the greater the demand will be for charging – including at points away from home. Charging points make sense everywhere where people spend longer periods of time, for example in shopping centers.” Here action from the private energy sector is also needed.
Wissmann emphasized, “More and more people live in ever larger cities, and want to be mobile. At the same time the growing economic strength of major emerging countries is generating more traffic and a huge need for raw materials. Mobility should be maintained as an engine to drive economic growth while resources and the climate are simultaneously protected. Electric mobility is a key technology for such an integrated strategy for the climate, mobility and raw materials.”
The industry would, Wissmann said, continue to do everything to encourage the success of electric vehicles, because the best times for electric mobility were yet to come. He added, “Their range will increase, and prices will come down. By 2025 we expect to see costs halved as compared with today’s battery models.” According to the latest progress report from Germany’s National Platform for Electric Mobility, today the range of an electric car is already sufficient for around 90 percent of all planned journeys because the average daily distance covered in Germany is only 22 kilometers. Wissmann commented: “And people who make longer journeys can choose a rechargeable hybrid vehicle.”
Forecasts assume that in ten years from now, over 15 percent of all new vehicles worldwide will be electrified. “Germany must step on the gas. At present the markets for e-vehicles are developing more dynamically in other countries,” Wissmann said. “The car of the future will be electrically powered, connected and automated. Germany has a strong position in all these areas.” The aim must be, he continued, to maintain this position – and to expand it – in the ever tougher competition between the various countries. “And whether we manage that will depend crucially on the overall political framework. If we do not turn our attention to e-mobility, others will.”