May 16, 2011

Germany Hopes To Develop Electric Car Industry

The Welt am Sonntag newspaper said on Sunday that the German government is prepared to pay $1.4 billion in subsidies over the next two years to help its industry develop electric cars.

Chancellor Angela Merkel asked Germany to become the market leader in the new technology with a view to "having a million electric cars on our roads by 2020."

According to Welt am Sonntag, the cabinet will discuss financial support for the industry as early as Wednesday.

The paper said the government is considering granting tax relief to owners of electric cars, along with non-monetary measures like special fast lanes and priority parking.

"Contrary to what was earlier envisaged, there will be a very quick decision on government help", an unnamed source close to the government told the paper.

A German magazine reported earlier this month that the National Electro-mobility Platform commission would ask for "several billion euros worth" of government support to help develop the new technology.

Merkel said the two main problems in developing the new technology involve the building of long-powered batteries and the setting up of the infrastructure needed to recharge them.

"For this there already exists a range of pilot projects and these must be quickly developed," she told the paper.

"By 2030 there could be six million electric cars" on German roads, she added.

Germany's Automobile Federation (VDA) said this year's Frankfurt international car show would highlight electric cars.

BMW, the world's leading luxury car maker, said it will launch its first all-electric urban vehicle in 2013.