“Electric mobility can create many thousands of new jobs in Germany. The new drive train technology can become a motor for jobs German industry, in both research and production, given the right general conditions,” said Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). He was speaking at the Capital Conference on Electric Mobility 2013 in Berlin. The years 2013 and 2014 will see the market launch of 14 electrified series models that are “Made in Germany” and powered either purely by batteries or by a combination of electric power and an internal combustion engine (plug-in hybrid or range extender). Wissmann underlined: “The lion’s share of development and production for these electric cars is carried out in Germany. German manufacturers and suppliers are expanding their sites at home to turn them into centres for electric mobility. That creates new jobs and secures existing ones. The automotive industry contributes to Germany’s ability to be the leading provider and leading market for electric mobility. But politicians also have to play their part.”
“Right now the showcase regions are especially important. We know that people who have driven an electric car are delighted by this emissions-free mobility, especially in urban areas,” Wissmann said. Making electric mobility a tangible experience and specifically increasing customer acceptance were two major goals for the showcase regions, he continued. “Our capital Berlin, with its 3.5 million inhabitants, offers an ideal platform for making the great potential in electric mobility accessible to many people. The showcase will demonstrate the direct benefits of electric mobility to people in the city. Berlin can achieve the objective – of becoming a leading international metropolis for electric mobility – if it embraces the new technology with its characteristic creativity and enthusiasm.” Wissmann added that the German automotive industry’s innovations at the Geneva Motor Show had demonstrated impressively that it was consistently developing alternative drive trains and optimising the internal combustion engine, the VDA president underlined.
The German Government has stated its aim of making Germany the leading market for electric mobility. “German industry explicitly supports this aim and contributes to its achievement. It bears the lion’s share of the necessary investments. That constitutes up to 17 billion euro going on research and development just for market preparation, from several sectors associated with electric mobility. The German automotive industry is investing 10 to 12 billion euro in the development of alternative drive trains over the next three to four years, 80 per cent of which is earmarked for electric mobility,” Wissmann said. All the experts were agreed that the market launch for electric vehicles required proactive support. “We need back up, including support from politicians,” Wissmann stressed.
An important lever, he added, was the European CO2 Regulation, which could provide intelligent incentives. One option for boosting progress was the “super credits” for vehicles with alternative drive trains, which are offset against the CO2 average. However, the European Commission’s proposal envisages – incomprehensibly – limiting the corresponding new registrations to 20,000 per manufacturer within the EU in the years 2020 to 2023. “That would be only 185 cars per manufacturer per year per EU country, whose super credits could be applied to the fleet target. That is a joke. It will put the brakes on manufacturers’ innovations aiming to bring to market as early as possible such especially efficient vehicles, with their high expenditure on research and development. Those who wish to advance electric mobility must take their feet off the brakes,” Wissmann said.