VDA President: We have no time to lose – Ramping-up electric mobility needs the proper infrastructure – Master plan shows joint effort by politicians, industry and trade unions – Legal obstacles must be eliminated – Environmental bonus to be increased
“Today politicians, the industry and trade unions jointly agreed major steps toward the successful ramp-up of electric mobility in Germany. Now practical implementation should follow swiftly. The German automotive industry, together with the IG Metall trade union, emphasized to the German Government that we see achieving the climate targets, mastering the structural changes in the sector and securing employment in Germany as tasks for society as a whole, which needs close coordination and can only be successful when all the stakeholders act in a systemic, targeted and coordinated manner. To enable that, it is important to have long-term planning security,” said Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). He was speaking after the second meeting of “concerted action for mobility,” which was held in the Federal Chancellery on Monday evening.
At the meeting with Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, several federal ministers, chairs of parliamentary groups and German state premiers, the automotive industry was represented by Mattes and Oliver Zipse (BMW), Ola Källenius (Daimler), Dr. Herbert Diess (Volkswagen), Gunnar Herrmann (Ford-Werke), Michael Lohscheller (Opel), Dr. Jörg Stratmann (Mahle), Klaus Rosenfeld (Schaeffler), Wolf-Hennig-Scheider (ZF), Dr. Ariane Reinhart (Continental) and Dr. Stefan Hartung (Bosch). The chairs of group works councils from the companies were also represented.
“We now need most of all the rapid expansion of the public and private charging infrastructure, also serving electric commercial vehicles and heavy goods traffic. We have no time to lose. The earlier the measures described in the master plan can be implemented, the better,” Mattes stated. He added everyone was agreed that the number of public charging points in existence today (a good 20,000) was insufficient: “We need 1 million public charging points by 2030, an additional 100,000 fast charging points and several million private charging points,” the VDA president stated.
This would, Mattes continued, require some overarching coordination and energetic implementation. The municipalities had in a key role for the public charging infrastructure, applying the necessary local knowledge to drive forward the expansion. According to the VDA president, the “national control center for the charging infrastructure” to be set up by the Federal Ministry of Transport before the end of this year had to be given the necessary resources and competencies for taking the planning forward, supporting the players involved and coordinating expansion. “Furthermore, tangible promotion for the private charging infrastructure will be central to ramping-up electric mobility. The planned funding of 50 million euros is nowhere near enough. It must be significantly increased and the restrictions on shared private charging infrastructure must be lifted,” Mattes underscored.
The German automotive industry was already making a considerable contribution by investing heavily in the expansion of the charging infrastructure at its own sites: “Today the OEMs and suppliers already provide well over 5,000 charging points at their facilities for employees and customers. The number of company charging points will continue to rise markedly, given that corporate premises are excellent places for charging vehicles. We have now given the policymakers an undertaking that by the end of 2022 we will install at least another 15,000 charging points on the premises of companies in the German automotive industry and the vehicle trade. The aim is to install 100,000 charging stations by 2030. The investments being made by our member companies are huge,” Mattes stressed. The public sector and the energy business will also play an active role concerning the charging infrastructure.
Moreover, in cooperation with the joint venture Ionity the automotive industry was very rapidly building a fast charging network along the arterial routes – so by the end of 2020 there would be around 100 of these sites in Germany, and more than half of them were already in operation, the VDA president explained.
In addition, Mattes pointed out, the legal obstacles to expanding the public and private charging infrastructure had to be removed quickly. That applied in particular to the necessary amendments to the legislation on rented and residential property (“right to charge”), the abolition of legal and administrative hurdles, accelerated approval procedures, revision of the German Charging Station Ordinance, and the mandatory installation of charging stations in buildings and parking lots. “The customers will opt for electric cars when they are sure they can charge their vehicles quickly, simply and conveniently – in both urban and rural areas,” Mattes said, and added that the automotive industry was also in close contact with the energy sector on this point.
On Monday evening politicians and the industry reached agreement on the incentives for purchasing electric cars. Mattes said, “We have reached a basic understanding with the German Government that the environmental bonus will be continued up to the end of 2025 and will also be increased. Implementation is expected this month.” The environmental bonus is being raised by 50 percent for electric vehicles (BEVs and PHEVs) with a net list price of up to 40,000 euros. This means it will be 6,000 euros for BEVs, and 4,500 euros for PHEVs. For electric vehicles with a net list price of 40,000 to 65,000 euros, the environmental bonus is being increased by 25 percent. The automotive industry will – as before – contribute the same amount as the Government. Furthermore, options will be examined for applying an environmental bonus to nearly new used electric cars, that did not qualify for a state subsidy when they were first bought or as company cars of their first owner, when they are resold.
Steps must also be taken to ensure that vehicles can be fully charged using affordable green electricity in the future. “There is still a lot of work to do here,” Mattes said.
Monday’s top-level meeting in the Federal Chancellery also discussed digitization, connected and automated driving, and training requirements for employees involved in the transformation process. Mattes stressed, “To expand our good position in connected and automated driving, we will have to act faster at national level, in particular when it comes to allowing exceptions, in order to gain practical experience with the systems. A crucial step will be to set up field tests for a data ecosystem. After all, business and politicians also have to pull together at the international level.”
Regarding the training needed for the future, Mattes said: “The mobility of the future will bring far-reaching changes for companies and many employees. It is the common responsibility of the social partners and the state to promote training using suitable measures and to shape the changes together, so that adverse effects on jobs can be avoided. Qualification and training are of key importance in mastering the transformation.” He added that the German Government would also examine whether the instruments provided for in the German Skills Development Opportunities Act (Qualifizierungschancengesetz) and the money for short-time working had to be tightened up or adjusted.