Originally posted on CleanTechnica
Germany’s success in adopting sustainable energy has been one of the most positive energy stories of the past year. Yet on the other hand, Germans have been slow to adopt electric cars, with few places to plug in compared to more aggressively EV-friendly nations like France and Norway.
But as Green Car Reports points out, that that is changing with the German government’s announcement that it will support growing a sustainably-powered national network of EV charging stations. There is also talk of introducing cash and tax rebate incentives to spur plug-in car sales, which are surprisingly weak given the German economy’s size.
Part of the problem is a relatively low number of available charging stations; there are only 100 fast-charging DC stations, and 4,800 Level 2 charging stations. Sounds like a decent number, but consider that Norway, a nation of 5 million people, has 4,500 operational charging stations. Germany has 80 million people, and tens of thousands of more miles of roads to cover. Norwegians have purchased over 18,000 plug-in cars in 2014 alone, while Germans have purchased a little over half of that. Not even the otherwise successful BMW i3 is finding many takers in the Fatherland.
What’s a major economy to do? Partner with a private corporation, of course. The government has enlisted Tank & Rast GmbH to have a total of 400 sites with fast-charging stations available by the end of 2017. BMW is also one of many automakers planning to introduce its own fast-charging network to support its vehicles in the same fashion the Tesla Supercharger network enables owners to drive further and charge faster.
Access to charging stations is a huge incentive on its own to get an electric car, and the German government could further sweeten the pot with tax incentives or rebates, subsidizing the cost of plug-in cars. Germany doesn’t currently offer any sort of break for buying a plug-in, but Norway has proven that the right mix of financial and convenience incentives can drive plug-in car sales much higher. If Germany follows suit, maybe it stands a chance of meeting its goal of 1 million plug-in cars by the end of 2020.
Otherwise, plug-in car sales might continue to just sort of putter along.