EU Commission approves electric bus funding for Germany
The EU Commission has approved an increase of 300 million euros in Germany’s state aid for the purchase of electric buses and charging infrastructure under state aid law. The German aid scheme is valid until the end of 2021.
With the subsidies, the federal government intends to cover the additional costs for the purchase of electric buses compared to diesel buses and the establishment of the necessary charging infrastructure. The total state funding for this now amounts to 650 million euros.
In Germany, the Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) handles the subsidies. The ministry subsidises up to 80 per cent of the additional costs in the purchase price for an electric bus compared to a diesel model. The remaining expenditure, for example for the charging infrastructure, is subsidised by 40 per cent. At the beginning of December 2019, the ministry announced that 16 projects with a funding volume of more than 250 million euros have currently been approved.
The original funding was approved in 2018. The EU Commission now writes that the German plans are in line with the union’s state aid rules and that the aid scheme will help to reduce CO2 emissions “without unduly distorting competition”. The fact that German public transport operators have used the subsidy to purchase buses from all over Europe and not just from German manufacturers may have contributed to the Commissions decision. Also, Mercedes with the eCitaro and MAN with the Lion’s City E have only recently started delivering vehicles.
According to the Commission, “the state aid scheme provides an incentive for bus operators to invest more in this type of vehicle and the necessary charging infrastructure”. Overall, Brussels expects an increase in funding to save around 45,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year. Besides, nitrogen oxide emissions are to be reduced by about 17 tons per year.