Awhile back President Obama made a bold statement that he wanted 1 million EVs on our roadways by 2020. This statement has set the goal for our market and has lead automakers to push forward in their production of EVs with the assistance of government grants. Though his goal may be a stretch, another country has decided to follow his words all the way.
German leaders recently announced their intentions to put 1 million EVs on their roads by 2020. According to the Reuters news group, the plan to put 1 million EVs on German roads includes $705.1 million in government funding to help with construction of EV charging stations and programs that help boost battery technology. It all sounds very familiar to our plans here in the U.S.
According to Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, "Our goal is to make Germany the leading market for electro-mobility."
Mixed emotions came from the German automakers. BMW warmly welcomes the plan as did the German carmakers association called the VDA. But others do not agree with the timeline. As Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said, "In 20 years there will be mass produced electric cars, but they should only make up around 5 to 10 percent of all overall automobiles."
Germany conducted a similar program to our Cash for Clunkers program and it was highly successful. The government subsidized the program with $7.35 billion, 10 times the amount set aside for EV development and for that reason, skeptics believe that the EV push will be unsuccessful in the country. According to William Diez, head if the Automobile Industry Institute in Germany, "The funds are indeed helpful, but don't expect to see a sales rush like with the cash-for-clunkers program."
Several countries are racing to become the first mass market for EVs and only time will tell us who the winner is. Let's hope more countries join in and let the competition get underway.