Following their clear commitment to purely battery-electric mobility, Volkswagen is now apparently pressing for the electric mobility funding in Germany to be reorganised. Above all, the government should give preference to buyers of smaller, cheaper, fully electric vehicles.
This is the main thrust of an internal paper entitled “Approaches and Proposals for Better Promotion of Electric Mobility in Germany”, reported by Süddeutsche Zeitung. Due to their focus on larger, luxury cars, BMW, Daimler, Tesla and Audi, in particular, are unlikely to agree.
VW demands a restructuring of the so-called “environmental bonus” so that small electric cars are promoted to a greater extent than larger cars. VW’s assessment is that “all currently existing purchase subsidies, expansion plans for charging infrastructure and the existing framework conditions are not sufficient to achieve the European and German climate targets in the transport sector and must, therefore, be adapted as quickly as possible”.
In detail, VW insists that a car with a length of less than four metres and a range of over 200 km should have an increased subsidy from currently 4000 up to 5,000 euros. A vehicle with a length of more than 4.6 metres, on the other hand, should receive less subsidies, and be reduced to 2,000 euros. Currently, Daimler, Tesla and Audi are aiming to focus on large sedans in addition to SUVs. In the case of Tesla, for example, this would mean that the Model 3, the smallest vehicle in the Californian product range, would only receive the 2,000 euros due to its length of 4.69 meters.
In addition, according to VW’s presentation, plug-in hybrids should receive less funding in the future than before. This is not likely to be very popular among BMW, Daimler and Audi who all recently announced a very clear PHEV offensive. Volkswagen’s catalogue of measures stipulates that plug-in hybrids would only receive a total of 1,500 euros from 2020 onwards instead of the previous 3,000 euros and would not receive any further funding after 2022.
Currently, the German environmental bonus can only be applied for until the end of June 2019. However, the subsidy pot is not even close to being exhausted – but not due to lack of demand. Demand for electric cars is significantly higher but currently cannot be fully met because of a lack of model diversity and available quantities. VW’s demands are timely since the federal German government is currently considering extending the purchase premium anyway. A possible increase in purchase subsidies is also under discussion.
In addition to restructuring the environmental bonus, Volkswagen proposes an “Electromobility Mobility Fund”, which would provide free charging current for electric cars under €20,000 “and thus enable vehicles to be operated almost free of charge for low-income earners”. Financing is to be provided by the federal government, manufacturers and electricity companies.
In addition, Volkswagen insists the funding pot for charging infrastructure should be doubled from 300 million to 600 million euros. What they say is also needed, is a central registration and mandatory reporting of all public charging points and the “consistent enforcement of sanctions at the municipal level for parking offenders in e-parking spaces”. The German carmaker demands that laws for private charging infrastructure must also be simplified and approval procedures accelerated. In addition, the parking areas in retail stores would have to be provided with charging facilities. According to VW, there should be around 35,000 parking spaces at German supermarkets, each with 60 to 80 parking spaces. The paper states that “140,000 charging points could be created by equipping two charging stations with two charging points each”. According to Volkswagen, subsidies must be made available to supermarkets for this purpose. In addition, VW insists that a restriction of five million euros in subsidies per applicant would have to be a prerequisite.
Furthermore, Volkswagen has threatened to leave the country’s influential carmaker lobby group VDA. The carmaker wants the lobby group to budge from its rigid insistence on “technological openness” in the transition and to fully focus instead on electric vehicles.