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BDO publishes Delphi study: What Germany needs for e-mobility to succeed

05 February 2018

The European Union has issued guidelines enshrined in a series of directives targets and roadmaps to tackle climate change, primarily through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The EU guidelines specify ambitious decarbonisation goals for Member States. Notwithstanding the fact that the German federal government has already adopted a broad programme to implement European agreements, it was clear that Germany would not be able to reach the European targets, in particular the 20/20/20 targets, without taking further action. The German federal government launched a new and comparably ambitious plan to address another important source of greenhouse emissions: automobiles. The aim was to make Germany the leading market for electric mobility, with one million electric cars on the streets by 2020.

With less than 54,000 e-vehicles on the roads at the beginning of 2018, Germany’s government is nowhere near reaching its goal. In 2017, the country recorded some 3.5 million new car registrations, of which e-vehicles accounted for approximately 0.7 percent. All else being equal, this number would need to increase to 14% per annum in each of the next two years to achieve the one-million goal on time.

It is obvious that Germany is not going to meet the 2020 target. Neither initiatives such as the ‘environmental bonus’ – a government subsidy of up to 4,000 euros for newly bought electric cars – nor the steadily but nonetheless slowly expanding charging station infrastructure will be enough to make the difference. Clearly, something has to be done to enhance consumer acceptance of e-cars and to boost sales to significant volumes. But what?

BDO commissioned a Delphi study to find answers to this pressing question and to provide insight on how the future might look. Independent experts from various institutions were asked to 1.) identify and assess current and future obstacles to faster electric car market penetration and 2.) suggest which promising supply- and demand-side measures they believe are most likely to promote e-mobility in Germany.