In early July, the first Model 3 cars finally left Tesla’s factory, an occasion that resulted in great enthusiasm among analysts and shareholders alike. Initial production was limited to 30 units – 20 for employees and 10 for test drives. Custom-made versions, maybe? It doesn’t look like actual series production, but the event was an effective PR tool to launch the new mass-produced electric vehicle.
This March, Shell presented a new study carried out in collaboration with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Focusing on transportation, the authors compared several different production pathways for hydrogen and took a closer look at the three regions spearheading global development: Germany, Japan and the United States. Jörg Adolf, who headed the project at Shell, said that hydrogen technology had made big advances over the past years, “not just in car use.”
Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh is looking to establish framework agreements with Chinese companies, as he believes the country to be a very promising market. China is said to have already invested more than USD 100 billion in fuel cell technology over the years, as it has recognized that there is large potential to tap (see Ballard). Talks with Chinese-based automotive suppliers are ongoing. In the US, Plug Power hopes that there will be other tax incentives for fuel cell vehicles. The investment tax credits have certainly been a factor in getting orders for forklift truck retrofits. Donald Trump, however, is said to be opposed to these types of incentives as much as in the wind and solar industry.
The Car Summit that took place in the chancellor’s office resulted in the creation of the long-requested economic incentive for electric cars. In Berlin on April 26, 2016, Chancellor Angela Merkel came to an agreement with the heads of the automotive companies about an “incentive lite,” to which the industry had to contribute at least half of the funding. That didn’t stop other politicians and environmental organizations from criticizing the agreement.
In May 2015, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) presented the long-awaited funding instrument for the market launch of fuel cell heating devices. As announced by Minister of Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, the market launch is to be supported via the so-called Energy Efficiency Incentive Program. The program is part of the National Action Plan on Energy Efficiency (NAPE), which was passed by the German federal government at the end of 2014. With other projects, it aims to contribute to a big improvement in the level of effectiveness in the construction sector. The package of measures has an annual funding volume