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19 Aug 2021, 13:35
Sören Amelang

Germany supports industry in shift to e-cars with 1 bln euros

Manager magazine

The German government has created a one billion euro fund to support the car industry's shift to low-emission mobility. A "future fund" earmarked for this purpose is now ready for launch, finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) said following a "car summit" with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and representatives of the industry, trade unions and the federal states, reports manager magazin. "Our goal is for the German automotive industry to build the climate-friendly cars of the future, create new jobs and maintain value creation," said Scholz, who is the SPD’s chancellor candidate in the federal elections on 26 September.

Germany boasts more than 800,000 direct automotive manufacturing jobs, almost four times as many as Europe's number two manufacturing location France, and is home to global car brands Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Cars are one of the country's most important export items and the industry has long been a pillar of its overall economic success. 

The fund, which is mainly aimed at German regions with a strong car industry presence, was decided in principle last year and has now been agreed in detail. It makes 340 million euros available for regional "transformation networks" to bring together local actors and develop strategies. Another 340 million euros is dedicated to advancing digitalisation, and 320 million euros will be used to help small and medium-sized companies convert production for e-drives and fuel cells. 

Participants told Süddeutsche Zeitung that the industry demanded government support in its fight against stricter EU climate regulations, and warned of a power vacuum following the elections. After the meeting, car industry association VDA head Hildegard Müller reiterated her criticism of what she called an excessive tightening of fleet CO2 emission limits. She said the European Commission proposals in the Fit-for-55 legislative package constitute an "unnecessary and unwise" de facto 2035 ban on internal combustion engine vehicles. Many environmentalists are calling for a ban on sales of conventional cars by 2030 to achieve climate targets.

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