Electric Mobility: One Million Electric Cars by 2020

Electric Cars in Berlin Enlarge image Electric Cars in Berlin (© picture alliance / dpa) Establishing Germany as a lead market and lead provider in the area of electric mobility is a key aim of the federal government and German industry. Together they pursue the goal of putting at least one million electric vehicles on Germany’s roads by 2020. For 2030, the German government’s Energy Concept lays down a target of six million electric cars.

Under the National Development Plan for Electric Mobility, which was adopted on August 19, 2009, the German government established the National Platform for Electric Mobility, a body comprising highly reputed experts from industry, science and civil society, which develops proposals and measures to reach these targets. Carrying out the mandate assigned to it by Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel on  May 3, 2010, the Platform delivered its first report to the Ministries for Economics (BMWi), Transport (BMVBS), Environment (BMU) and Research (BMBF) on November 30, 2010. The second report, containing key recommendations to the government, was presented to the Federal Chancellor by Professor Henning Kagermann, the chair of the National Platform for Electric Mobility, on May 16, 2011. This report served as an important foundation for the government program on electric mobility which was agreed by the Federal Cabinet on May 18, 2011.

  • “In contrast to the days when the Kaiser hoped that horses would remain the main means of transport, today you have a Chancellor who believes in electromobility.”                                                                                           -Chancellor Merkel

BMW i8 EV Enlarge image BMW shows that electric vehicles can also be sporty and fun at the 15th Shanghai Car Show (© picture alliance / dpa) The activities undertaken by the German government in the field of electric mobility are key stepping stones on the path towards a climate-friendly mobility with a low impact on the environment and quality of life. Worldwide there are currently almost one billion vehicles, 700 million of which are passenger vehicles. This figure is set to double by 2030 at the latest. This means that Germany and in fact almost all industrialized and newly industrializing countries will be faced with the major challenge of having to reduce transport-induced CO2 and pollutant emissions and dependence on oil imports. As a result we may expect stringent caps on emissions in the most important automobile markets of the future – primarily in Asia – in the 10 to 15 years to come or even access bans to inner city areas for vehicles with combustion engines.

Electric filling station Enlarge image Electric filling stations have been cropping up all over Germany in response to higher demand (© picture alliance / dpa) The federal government's active support of electric mobility not only raises the quality of life in German cities and reduces dependency on oil, it also strengthens the competitiveness of one of the pillars of the German economy - the automobile industry. Moreover, electric mobility will allow Germany to use an increasing share of domestic, permanently available energy from renewable sources in the transport sector, while conventional cars almost entirely depend on imports of ever scarcer and more expensive oil.

However, to be able to fully exploit the huge CO2 emissions reduction potential of electric vehicles, the electricity required has to come from renewable energy sources. If renewable sources are not used we will merely shift the emissions output from vehicles to power plants.

Systematic links between electric vehicles and intelligent charging technologies to facilitate the feed-in of wind and solar electricity will give German industry a key competitive edge. Electric vehicles with flexible charging times can help to integrate growing shares of fluctuating energy supply into the grid more smoothly. The BMU’s funding program for electric mobility therefore addresses this issue as one if its crucial elements.

Electric Mobility Going Global

Conference on Electromobility Enlarge image Chancellor Merkel at the "Electric Mobility Going Global" Conference in 2013 (© picture alliance / dpa)

In 2013, the government hosted the event “Electric Mobility Going Global,” a conference on the progress of the National Platform for Electric Mobility. At the conference, Chancellor Merkel, reiterated the objective of putting one million electric vehicles on the roads in Germany by 2020 and of becoming a lead provider of and a lead market for electric mobility. 

"Electric mobility requires extensive cooperation, across both sectoral and national boundaries, if we are to reduce the climate change impact of mobility in as much of the world as possible. Our National Platform for Electric Mobility plays an especially important role here. Numerous bilateral contacts and joint Federal Government projects underscore just how important close international cooperation is to us."

The Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Dr Philipp Rösler, also attended the event. He praised the progress so far, "Thanks to its highly innovative industry, Germany is in an excellent position to progress the emerging technology that is electric mobility. We are supporting industry as it interlinks even more closely with academia. New products and services will generate high-value jobs. One thing that is very important here is that the technological developments must be supported by the market."

©  Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety