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Article - Electric Mobility

Electric mobility in Germany


Combating climate change, new markets, less dependence on fossil fuels: mobility will be rethought in future. The development of electric mobility is a major forward-looking issue for German industry. In fact, electric vehicles can become a key element of the energy transition.

Electric mobility is the key to climate-friendly mobility all around the world. Particularly when operated using renewables-based electricity, electric vehicles generate much less CO2. Also, electric vehicles can store energy and will be able to offset fluctuations in wind and solar power, thus fostering the expansion and market integration of these volatile energy sources. The Federal Government has adopted a set of measures to promote this, including a purchase grant for electric vehicles, the expansion of the charging infrastructure, and a public procurement programme for the purchase of electric vehicles by public authorities.

Getting electric mobility onto the market

Mobility will be rethought in future. The entire auto industry is facing a massive change which will require it to be innovative. This target is not only about making Germany a lead market for electric mobility. The idea is to spur innovation in the German vehicles, driveline, and components industries, to ensure that electric vehicles are integrated in the electricity grids and the transport networks, and to thereby secure Germany’s position as a lead technology provider for electric mobility. This also means that German industry is called upon to maintain its reputation for technological excellence in the field of electric mobility, and to successfully sell its electric vehicles and the systems, components and services associated with them on the German and international markets.

Where do we stand today?

At present (January 2018) German manufacturers have 29 different models of electric vehicles on the market, which can be charged up at some 9,000 charging points. In order to make the use of electric vehicles more attractive, the Federal Government adopted additional measures to provide a stimulus for electric mobility on 18 May 2016. The package of measures consists of temporary purchase incentives, additional funding for the expansion of the charging infrastructure, more efforts regarding the purchase of electric vehicles by public authorities, and tax measures. For further information, please click here.

Facts and figures on electric mobility

Symbolicon für Elektroauto

different electric car models
were on the German market (February 2018).

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million electric vehicles
are expected to be on Germany's roads by 2020.

Symbolicon für Geld

million euros
have been earmarked by the German federal government in 2017 for research and development in the field of electric mobility.

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flagship projects
have received awards from the federal government since 2012.

Funding technologies

Strengthening R&D for electric mobility

In order to get electric mobility onto the roads, the Federal Government is funding research and development via practical, technology-neutral programmes.

The Federal Government’s aim is to make Germany a lead market and top provider in the field of electric mobility. Electric vehicles need to be able to compete, particularly on range and price, with other propulsion concepts. This means that there is a continuing need for a high level of precompetitive research and development.

In total, the Federal Government has provided over €2.2 billion for research and development since 2009. Four ministries are involved in providing the funding. An overview is provided by the advice on funding from the Federal Government, which is a central contact point for companies and research establishments interested in questions relating to research promotion.

Funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

Research and development activities led by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action in this area focus on the electric mobility system as a whole.

This includes driveline technology, battery storage, energy, standardisation, ways to strengthen the value chain, connected cars, fleet and logistics strategies, digitalisation, grid integration, charging stations that use smart metering technology, and infrastructure.

Establishing battery cell production in Germany and Europe

As we transform our energy sector towards renewables, electric mobility is taking on an ever more important role. And so are the research into and the development and production of batteries and battery cells in Germany. Batteries are used in a wide range of different areas – from micro-batteries powering consumers’ smart watches and headsets to power tools used in industrial production all the way to large stationary battery storage units that provide renewable electricity. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is providing one billion euros in funding from the Energy and Climate Fund up until 2022 to establish Germany as a global leader in battery cell production under the European Battery Alliance.

The European Battery Alliance is the central platform for dialogue on the future of battery cell production in Europe between the European Member States, the European Commission and European industrial companies. It seeks to encourage the production of battery cells in both Germany and Europe and to ensure that the batteries produced are competitive, innovative and environmentally compatible.

A networking conference was held in November 2018. Its goal was to help create new value chains in Germany and Europe by linking up companies and research institutes and help them deepen existing contacts. This was a good opportunity, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, to engage in dialogue on potential cooperation projects, explore potential for development and start working together in this forward-looking field. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is also working closely with the Federal Ministry of Education to develop a strategy that will explore the best way to combine battery cell research and battery cell production.



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Building infrastructures

Creating incentives and the right environment

The Federal Government is taking the necessary steps to create a regulatory environment in which electric mobility can thrive, and is also providing incentives to boost the demand for electric vehicles: the measures include the purchase grant, uniform charging standards, and privileges for electric car owners, e.g. special parking arrangements.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has long been an advocate of a range of measures to accelerate the development of the market for electric mobility. The comprehensive package of measures aims to assist the market ramp-up of electric mobility. The focus is on three measures with a financial impact: temporary purchase incentives, the expansion of the charging infrastructure, and the purchase of electric vehicles by public authorities.

  • Purchase grant (environmental bonus): The Federal Government has earmarked a maximum of €600 million to support the purchase of at least 300,000 electric vehicles by 2019. The carmakers are contributing an equal amount. A bonus of €4,000 is paid for the purchase of a new all-electric vehicle. Buyers of plug-in hybrid vehicles receive a bonus of €3,000. Applications for the environmental bonus can be submitted directly to the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA).
  • Support for the roll-out of charging stations: The Federal Government is providing €300 million in funding to promote the roll-out of rapid and standard recharging points. The goal: many more rapid recharging points, which are particularly expensive, are to be available along the major transport routes and in the big cities by 2020.
  • More electric vehicles in the public-sector vehicle fleet: The public sector will set a good example by increasing the number of electric vehicles in its fleet. The share of electric vehicles to be purchased by the Federal Government is to rise to at least 20% by 2019. €100 million has been earmarked for this.
  • Extension of the vehicle tax exemption: from five to ten years.

Legal framework for future mobility

Optimum use of electric mobility requires uniform charging and payment standards. For this purpose, the Federal Government has adopted the 2016 Charging Station Ordinance. It stipulates the technical requirements for charging sockets and connectors of electric vehicles to guarantee technical safety.

The next step will be to harmonise authentication and payment at charging stations. The amendment of the Charging Station Ordinance has created minimum payment standards, thus ensuring non-discriminatory access to charging facilities. On 12 May 2017, the Bundesrat approved the Ordinance amending Charging Station Ordinance II of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The new rules cover ad-hoc charging, abolishing the need to participate in an electricity supplier’s in-house invoicing system. As a result, users of electric vehicles will be able to charge their vehicles and pay for the electricity at all publicly accessible charging stations using a common web-based payment system (e.g. an app), either in cash (if available) or by EC or credit card.

You can find out more about incentives and framework conditions here.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the purchase grant for electric vehicles

How much money do you receive as environmental bonus for electric vehicles?

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When can the environmental bonus be applied for?

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How can I apply for the environmental bonus?

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National Platform on Electric Mobility

Government, industry and science around one table

The National Electric Mobility Platform is a unique forum worldwide. It covers the whole value chain: representatives of industry, science and government are working closely together to make Germany the lead market for electric vehicles.

The National Electric Mobility Platform (NPE) coordinates the development of electric mobility in Germany. In the context of this body, which provides advice to the Federal Government, 150 representatives of industry, science, government, trade unions and associations come together for a strategic dialogue. They discuss the economic, social and ecological potential of electric mobility and submit recommendations for action to the government and the business community. You can find out more about the National Electric Mobility Platform (NPE) here.

Three stages have been defined to ensure that Germany succeeds in becoming a lead market for electric mobility:

  • The 'pre-market phase' served to pave the way for electric mobility in the context of research and development projects.
  • During the ensuing market ramp-up, the range of vehicles and the necessary infrastructure are being expanded considerably. Following this, a mass market is to be developed.

The National Electric Mobility Platform monitors progress on the goals to be reached by 2020

By submitting its fourth progress report, which was handed over to Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Economic Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt in December 2014, the NPE sealed the completion of the pre-market phase (2010-2014). In the report, the NPE also submitted proposals for the market ramp-up phase on how Germany can reach its 2020 goals to become the global lead supplier and the lead market for electric mobility.


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A modern industrial policy

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Showcases and Flagships

Experience the future with electric mobility!

In the unique “Electric Mobility Showcases” programme, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action works together with the Transport, Environment and Research Ministries to fund innovative companies and research establishments.

The aim of the showcases is to bring together and raise awareness of the German capabilities in the field of the electric vehicle, energy supply and transport system in selected, large-scale regional demonstration and pilot projects on a cross-system basis. Innovative elements of electric mobility are tested in close cooperation between the public sector, industry and science. The public has the opportunity to experience them, and national and international demand is stimulated.

In line with the recommendation by an independent jury of experts, four large-scale regional demonstration projects received the designation of Electric Mobility Showcases:

The Federal Government gave funding to 90 overarching projects with 334 individual projects in the four showcase regions between 2012 and 2016, and the Länder governments and other partners also supported additional projects. Together, they provided around €180 million for the programme. The total volume of investment in the projects funded by the Federal Government – including the contributions from the project partners – amounted to nearly €300 million. The wrap-up conference “Electric Mobility Showcases” at the trade fair site in Leipzig showed the 800 attendees more than just the innovative value added by the services supporting electric mobility in the showcase regions: it also gave an impressive display of the various types of electric mobility used in day-to-day private and commercial life – from the lightweight pedelec to the heavy aircraft tractor.

Flagships: outstanding electric mobility projects

Projects that stand out within their field for their exceptional quality are grouped together in what we call flagship projects. The designation as a flagship project is a true seal of quality which is awarded for game-changing innovative work that delivers technical advances or helps bring down the cost of electric mobility. 22 flagship projects have received awards from the Federal Government since 2012.

There are flagship projects for the following areas:

  • driveline technology (e.g. vehicle as a whole, driveline technology, manufacturing technology, lightweight construction);
  • energy systems and energy storage (e.g. materials development, fuel cell technology and batteries, modular manufacturing technology, safety, security, and lifetime);
  • charging infrastructure and grid integration, (e.g. smart grids, recuperation of energy, energy transfer via induction, rapid-charging systems);
  • mobility concepts (e.g. electric bus systems);
  • recycling and resource efficiency; and
  • information and communication technology.

The flagship projects see various scientific institutions, numerous SMEs and large companies work together. The projects within each lighthouse project and the lighthouse projects themselves are deeply interconnected. This interdisciplinary and cross-sector approach is essential for us to achieve our goals and targets linked to electric mobility. A final additional seven outstanding technological projects to be included were selected at the National Electric Mobility Conference, which took place on 15 and 16 June 2015.

Icon of an electric vehicle