BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - At a car summit in the Chancellery, the German government and industry sought to join forces in the expansion of electromobility. In order to drive this forward, the acquisition costs of e-cars must be reduced - all participants agreed on this, the German government spokesperson announced on Monday. Fully electric cars could make a significant contribution to reducing emissions and decarbonizing the transport sector.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and several federal ministers as well as representatives from manufacturers and suppliers, trade unions and works councils and the energy sector took part in the second top-level meeting of the "Strategy Platform Transformation of the Automotive and Mobility Industry".

Federal government's target is shaky

The German government's goal is to have 15 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2030. The expansion of electromobility is seen as an important contribution to achieving climate targets - the transport sector is a problem child. According to the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), there were around 1.3 million purely electric cars on the roads at the beginning of November.

The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) believes that the 15 million target will be missed by a wide margin according to current forecasts. Experts were assuming 7 and 10 million e-cars. "Continuing like this is not an option," said BDEW President Marie-Luise Wolff. VDA President Hildegard Müller called the target "very ambitious". However, the automotive industry expressly supports e-mobility as a "central technology" on the road to climate-neutral mobility.

The chairwoman of the IG Metall trade union, Christiane Benner, called the current situation of e-mobility "absolutely unsatisfactory". She spoke of a faltering ramp-up on the German market and poor framework conditions.

Prices for e-cars should fall

The German government had already made it clear before the summit that e-vehicles should be competitive and achieve a breakthrough on the market. The focus is also on ranges and lower prices.

"Car manufacturers must now set about making affordable electric cars from Germany available to the masses without delay," said Benner. "Individual mobility in the near future must be affordable for everyone. That would also be a significant and necessary boost for jobs in the German automotive industry."

Many people are still holding back when it comes to e-cars, explained the ADAC. "Uncertainties about fluctuating electricity prices, barely affordable vehicles, long delivery times and a lack of charging facilities in some cases are all contributing factors." In Germany, customers can only get three models for less than 30,000 euros, criticized the club, which represents millions of drivers. This also disturbs the ecologically oriented Verkehrsclub Deutschland. It demanded that German manufacturers offer more small e-cars.

After the summit, the spokesperson for the German government said that the information available to buyers should be improved and the range of models should be increased. For example, electric cars are already cheaper over their entire life cycle than comparable combustion models.

Summit in times of budget crisis

Following a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court, there is a large gap in the federal government's finances. The court had declared the reallocation of coronavirus loans of 60 billion euros from the 2021 budget to the Climate and Transformation Fund null and void. This special fund is used to finance many programs for the climate-friendly transformation of the economy - including the further development of electromobility and the expansion of the charging infrastructure. Cuts in funding programs are now possible. This could slow down the expansion of e-mobility. The fact that from September only private individuals will be able to apply for a government grant for the purchase of an electric car has already had a clear impact.

According to the German government, the participants at the summit emphasized the importance of announced major investments with regard to the expansion of semiconductor and battery production capacities. VDA President Müller said that the automotive industry needs clarity with regard to industrial policy commitments that have already been made.

Expansion of the charging network

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) welcomed the automotive industry's clear commitment to investing in charging infrastructure itself - this had been reaffirmed at the Autogipfel. The transformation can only succeed together, he said. The energy industry has so far built 80 percent of the charging infrastructure in Germany. Germany has made very good progress with expansion over the past two years. "Nevertheless, the pace of expansion must be increased further, especially in the municipalities," said Wissing. The availability of charging infrastructure in cities is increasing too slowly. More needs to be done here.

The energy company Eon and the car manufacturer Mercedes Benz announced that they were entering into a strategic partnership to drive forward electromobility. VDA President Müller said that the supply and production of vehicles would not be the possible bottleneck to achieving the 15 million target by 2030 - but that the charging infrastructure and the cost of use, especially the price of electricity, would also be essential. Opel CEO Florian Huettl told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper: "To achieve the German government's target of one million publicly accessible charging points by 2030, we need ten times as many new charging points."/hoe/DP/nas