21 Jan 2020, 13:17
Freja Eriksen

VW says govt support could spark 'initial ignition' for switch to e-mobility


German carmaker Volkswagen is in favour of support for electric cars, which can provide the "initial ignition" needed to encourage the transition to electric mobility, but only in the "first phase", said Thomas Ulbrich, a member of Volkswagen's board of management for e-mobility. In a joint interview in Handelsblatt with Kerstin Andreae, head of utilities organisation BDEW, Ulbrich added that the company had never said "lasting subsidies for e-cars are necessary." Incentives in the first phase would, however, provide the necessary “initial ignition”, and support is needed "to implement the technological changes which make economic sense," said Ulbrich. This would happen in the course of the first product generation. "In the automotive industry we calculate with a model life cycle of seven years," said Ulbrich. He added that legislation also plays a big role, arguing that "individual EU states could set different dates for the phase-out of the internal combustion engine."

Following the decision to support mining regions financially during the country's coal exit, Germany's car industry representatives and employees have already requested public funding to ease the transition to electric mobility and this has become a top priority for the government. Among the German carmakers, VW has made the most outstanding commitment to electric mobility. The world's largest carmaker pledged last year to transform itself from dieselgate pariah into e-mobility pioneer, and has committed dozens of billions of euros to the task.

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