24 Aug 2017, 00:00
Benjamin Wehrmann Julian Wettengel

"Germany's cheapest e-car" / Mission "diesel summit" failed?

Focus Online

Germany’s current cheapest electric car, the e.GO Life, comes from the small, new manufacturer e.GO Mobile and has the potential to become a bestseller, Focus Online reports. “We aim for a production of 20,000 cars by 2019,” says CEO Günter Schuh, who is professor at Aachen Technical University and also helped develop Deutsche Post’s successful StreetScooter e-van. The e.GO Life sells for nearly 16,000 euros, but the prices comes down to less than 12,000 euros since customers can make use of Germany’s e-car buyers’ premium of up to 4,000 per vehicle, the article says. The e.GO Life has a range of about 100 kilometres, but Schuh told car magazine “Auto Straßenverkehr” that the limited range of e-cars, which still was sufficient for most inner-city drives, is not the reason for modest sales figures: “It’s about the price.”

Read the article in German here.

Find out how Germany’s established carmakers seek to adapt to the transformation of mobility in this CLEW dossier.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

The federal environment ministry’s statement that software updates are insufficient to improve air quality in German cities makes the August ‘diesel summit’ a failure, writes Michael Bauchmüller in an opinion piece in Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Action plans can be decided and working groups installed at such a ‘summit’ – and before they can actually do anything, enough time has passed. That’s how the ‘diesel summit’ was supposed to work: The only limit it was supposed to adhere to was the twenty-fourth of September. The day of the general election,” writes Bauchmüller.

Read the opinion piece in German here.

See a CLEW article on the Diesel Summit’s results and a CLEW timeline of the dieselgate affair for background.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Germany’s cities have warned for over a year that the car industry is headed for a front crash since first court hearings in the context of emissions limit violations by diesel cars had started, Jasper van Altenbockum writes in an op-ed for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Either there would be a moratorium for limit values, a retrofitting of vehicles by the industry or driving bans, which nobody wants,” he says. But as NOx limit values were a political decision, “the combustion engine would rather disappear before the limitocracy is put into question,” van Altenbockum argues. So the choice for carmakers remained between retrofitting and bans, he writes, adding that a trend towards e-cars begins to show that might deprive the companies of their choices altogether.

Find the article in German here.

See the CLEW timeline of Germany’s diesel emissions scandal for background.

Süddeutsche Zeitung

German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalling support for an eventual combustion engine ban is putting the onus solely on the car industry, writes Horst Teltschik, former board member at carmaker BMW and former foreign policy advisor of the German government, in a guest commentary in Süddeutsche Zeitung. In the past decades, the car industry had tried to push for alternative drives time and again, but the government had not supported these attempts. “The experiences of the past decades show that both sides have to take on responsibility for alternative solutions,” writes Teltschik.

Read the guest commentary in German here.

For background, read the CLEW factsheet The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany.


Germany’s political system lately displays a questionable tendency towards prescribing the economy what to do by means of mandatory quotas, whether it is about the share of women in the management of companies or about the share of electric cars on the road, Ferdinand Knauß writes in a commentary for WirtschaftsWoche. “Critics from business and science who used to say that a quota curtails entrepreneurial freedom and the freedom of contract (…) have fallen silent,” Knauß argues. But Chancellor Angela Merkel had already become used to directing the economy with the energy transition, he says. “Quotas for the labour market or the product range of companies, however, no longer have anything in common with the ideas of the social market economy’s founding fathers, which were centred on individual freedom,” Knauß says.

Read the commentary in German here.


Germany takes an expensive “special path” in rolling out smart meters as regulated by the European Commission, according to an analysis by consultancy Baringa Partners, writes Franz Hubik in Handelsblatt. Germany had decided to roll out smart meters step-by-step, and did not oblige private households to install smart meters actually connected to the internet. “We’re running into a systemic gap that could mean a complete and sudden stop of the energy transition,” said Christoph Müser, energy consultant at Baringa Partners.

Read the article in German here.

For more information on “smart” technologies and the energy transition, see the CLEW dossier The digitalisation of the Energiewende.

Dow Jones Newswires

German transmission grid operators say fears about an overstraining of the grid due to an increased use of e-cars and heat pumps are unfounded, Dow Jones Newswires Germany reports. Utility associations in southern Germany recently warned that the nuclear phase-out in 2022 and the presumed rise in electric mobility might lead to power blackouts. But Lex Hartmann, CEO of grid operator Tennet, says this is an unlikely scenario: “We talk about years before there are millions of e-cars on Germany’s roads. Until then, the most important grid expansion projects will be finished.” Transmission grid operator TransnetBW says the companies already took a substantial rise in power demand by e-cars into account when planning their current grid expansion, but added that smaller distribution grids might in fact encounter challenges once e-cars become commonplace.

See the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid for background.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The Bavarian state government is a powerful supporter of German farmers’ demand to receive recurring compensation payments if power transmission lines are built on their premises, writes Andreas Mihm in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The governing conservative CSU called for these payment in its “Plan for Bavaria”, campaign programme, presented alongside the joint federal election programme with its sister party, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. Critics such as the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) warned that such payments would make the necessary grid expansion much more expensive, writes Mihm.

Read the article (behind paywall) in German here.

For more information, see the CLEW dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

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