Belatedly, Germany Follows California, Offers Electric-Car Incentives


2014 BMW i3

2014 BMW i3

As governments try to encourage the adoption of electric cars, incentives have proven to be one of the most powerful tools.

That's why Germany has finally come around, and will now offer certain perks to drivers of plug-in cars as part of its goal of putting 1 million of them on the country's roads by 2020.

The German cabinet backed a bill that would give electric-car drivers free parking as well as access to bus lanes, Bloomberg reports.

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The incentives would apply to drivers of battery-electric cars, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, and certain plug-in hybrids.

Only hybrid cars that have an electric range of more than 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) and carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions of no more than 50 grams per kilometer will qualify under the new scheme.

As with California's High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane access stickers, cars in Germany will also get their own identification. This will have the added benefit of raising the public profile of green cars, the German government believes.

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive - First Drive, May 2014

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive - First Drive, May 2014

Germany had about 21,000 electric cars on its roads at the start of 2014, and has six years to reach its goal of 1 million cars.

Increased electric-car adoption will help Germany curtail its transportation-related CO2 emissions, which currently account for roughly 16 percent of the total national carbon footprint.

However, the push for more electric cars is also reportedly motivated by a desire to demonstrate the prowess of the country's auto industry.

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German automakers have given plug-in cars more attention lately, with models like the BMW i3 city car and i8 plug-in hybrid coupe.

Then there is the low-volume Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive and, most recently, the S-Class plug-in hybrid--which will be, its maker says, the first of 10 plug-in hybrids to be launched by Mercedes over several years.

Even sports-car maker Porsche now sells multiple plug-in hybrids, while Audi plans to offer a plug-in version of every major model by 2020.

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