19 Oct 2020, 13:02
Kerstine Appunn

SUV’s profit from Germany’s e-car premium, observers cry foul

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung / Handelsblatt

Germany’s recent e-car boom – a record number of electric vehicles were registered in September 2020 – is partly thanks to generous government incentives – but these are also helping to boost sales of big SUVs, Georg Meck writes in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Government subsidies are also given to plug-in hybrids which run both on battery power and a combustion engine. Their sales have picked up by 463 percent compared to September 2019, the author writes. It is large SUVs such as the BMW X5 plug-in-hybrid that are profiting from the government premium, he says. And while car manufacturers praise these models as increasing acceptance of electric mobility, researchers and the Green Party say that funding such cars is wasting taxpayers’ money and could even be bad for the climate since a small combustion engine car is cleaner than a large SUV hybrid. Green Politician Cem Özdemir called it “government funded climate fraud”, Meck writes. The government’s advisory panel “National Platform on the Future of Mobility” has said that the government should re-design its e-car subsidies.

Under the government’s e-car promotion scheme, buyers of purely electric cars receive a payment of 9,000 euros towards their new car, buyers of a plug-in hybrid get 6,750 euros. In addition, several German state governments are offering their own incentives for electric vehicle purchases, e.g. Berlin gives 4,000 euros towards e-cars.

The rule that the federal and the state premiums may not be combined, which had caused discontent among citizens who had already ordered their new e-cars, is to be abandoned again, Handelsblatt reported today.

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