Germany plans to become leader in electric cars | Shanghai Daily

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August 20, 2009

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Germany plans to become leader in electric cars

GERMANY launched a campaign yesterday to put 1 million electric cars on the road by 2020, making battery research a priority as it tries to position the country as a market leader.

The program, which draws on 500 million euros (US$705 million) set aside in an economic stimulus package earlier this year but leaves many financing details up to the next government, drew criticism for being too vague.

"It is our aim to make Germany into the market leader for electric mobility," Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said after the Cabinet approved the plan.

He said the 1 million target by 2020 "is an ambitious aim, but one that we believe can be realized."

The government plans to spend 115 million euros examining in eight test regions how the cars could best be introduced.

It also plans to put 170 million euros into research on the batteries that power electric cars, making domestic production a priority and ensuring that German experts are trained in the technology.

"It is important that we couple a hopefully decreasing dependency on oil imports with not suddenly becoming dependent on battery imports," Guttenberg said.

The plan calls for electric cars to be put on the market starting in 2012, but does not specify what if any incentives might be offered to would-be buyers. Guttenberg said a market introduction plan would be examined, and financing would be a question for the next government.

Germany votes on September 27 and the next government is sure to include at least one of the two partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel's "grand coalition" of the country's biggest parties.

Opposition parties approved the plan, but said it was far too short on both specifics and money.




 

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