Germany releases funding for nearly 200 low-emission buses – it’s the last time

The Federal Ministry of Transport has awarded the final funding decisions for 186 electric buses. Eleven operators and two districts will share 53.4 million euros to procure the vehicles and corresponding infrastructure.

Image: MAN

The programme is part of Germany’s 2030 climate protection programme, which is going towards the 2050 targets and the future economic stimulus package. Additional funding comes through the German Recovery and Resilience Plan (DARP) via the European Recovery and Resilience Facilities (ARF) in the Next Generation EU recovery instrument.

Yet, this is the last time the German government will fund e-buses or e-trucks. The subsidies for climate-friendly commercial vehicles and buses will be discontinued, the Ministry of Transport confirmed when asked for comment by electrive. Projects that have already been approved will still be funded.

That means, just like for electric cars, Germany has cut funding prematurely. A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) reportedly told electrive that not all funding programmes could be continued to the planned extent due to the necessary budget consolidation and the forced focus on essential investments. “That also includes the promotion of climate-friendly commercial vehicles (KsNi). The approved projects in the guideline will be fully financed based on the 2024 budget. There are no funds available for a new call for funding.”

The electric truck subsidy lasted only two funding rounds, and the current subsidy programme for electric buses was merely three (for vehicle procurement). The call for the third round of funding ran from June to September 2023. However, only 23 transport companies had gotten a green light, while 140 were rejected. The funding programme was to continue until 2025.

That was before the high court ordered the government to adapt its budget by over twelve billion euros, meaning that funding for buses, battery research, charging infrastructure and commercial vehicles with alternative drive systems was up for debate. The ruling came after the conservative opposition party CDU had filed a complaint. In short, subsidy programmes for ramping electric vehicles were especially at risk of being cut.

The German government established the funding programme for climate-friendly commercial vehicles in 2021 as one of the main levers to drive electrification in the sector. Two years later, it became apparent that the 2024 financial year funding was largely tied up due to the high demand. The second round effectively spilt over into the period of a possible third round. The budget for further funding calls had thus been uncertain even before the cut came. (in German)


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