Just in time for the federal election, the responsible federal ministries announced that the federal government had “reached a decisive milestone with one million e-cars on German roads”. To be honest, the second headline of the press release says: “More than 50 per cent of these electric vehicles are purely battery-powered.” Almost half are hybrid vehicles.
The target of 1 million electric vehicles by 2020 was set more than ten years ago. On 25 November 2008, the then Federal Minister of Transport, Wolfgang Tiefensee, together with the then Federal Minister of the Environment, Sigmar Gabriel, had presented the plans for a cleaner, electricity-driven future during the National Strategy Conference on Electro-mobility in Berlin. A joint press release from the Federal Transport, Economics and Environment Ministries stated at the time: “By 2020, there should already be one million electric vehicles that can be charged from the power grid and so-called plug-in hybrid vehicles on German roads.”
Prof. Henning Kagermann, the chairman of the steering committee of the National Platform for Electro-mobility (NPE) had then spoken of a “calculable success story” in May 2011 and declared: “It’s clear to everyone: Electro-mobility will prevail.” At the time, he assumed that with state funding there could be around 100,000 electric vehicles in Germany by 2014 and then one million by 2020. Against the backdrop of an initially very slow increase in the number of units, the federal government has since withdrawn the target because numerous experts and the media had assumed that the target figures would be missed by a much greater margin.
In July 2021, the Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier now stated: “Our transport will be irreversibly converted to renewable energies.” He also announced that the “innovation bonus for the purchase of an e-car will be extended until the end of 2025”. Looking to the future, Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer explained: “However, to achieve the climate targets by 2030, we need to become even more ambitious: 14 million e-vehicles by 2030 must be the new target, experts say.”
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said: “Electric vehicles are the most efficient climate-friendly option in the passenger car sector, because they bring the energy used onto the road without detours. Switching to an electric car saves money on top of that. In the long term, charging with electricity is cheaper than filling up at the fuel pump. And the maintenance costs of an electric car are much lower than those of a combustion engine. Last but not least, electric vehicles cause less noise and harmful exhaust fumes, thus increasing the quality of life in our cities.”