Germany will provide 5.5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) of funding for electric-car charging infrastructure, a significant show of support for one of the country’s core industries.
The funds will be available until 2024, Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said in an emailed statement late Tuesday following a video conference with the heads of Germany’s carmakers.
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The nation’s auto industry is ready to meet more ambitious climate goals set out by the European Commission, the executives told Merkel. The companies have concluded that increasing acceptance of electric cars will make it possible to comply with more restrictive emissions limits, according to Handelsblatt. The newspaper cited a report produced by an industry working group created during the government’s last car summit.
The Commission is planning to make its climate goals tougher as part of its so-called Green Deal Initiative. In December, the bloc’s leaders endorsed toughening the 2030 target for car-emissions reduction to at least 55% from 1990 levels. The revision is expected to be finalized in June.
Europe overtook China as the world’s biggest market for plug-in hybrid and electric cars last year as governments offered sweeter incentives and carmakers broadened their offerings to entice buyers. The rise in EVs on the road has carmakers worried about drivers battling for charging spots, especially as manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG, BMW AG and Volvo Cars step up their shift to battery cars.
The European Union should get behind establishing a charging network across the region, Hildegard Mueller, president of Germany’s auto lobby VDA said Wednesday. The network must run on renewable energy for electric vehicles to gain more acceptance among buyers, she said during a conference.
“A long driving range is today a central part to people’s buying decisions,” Markus Schaefer, Mercedes-Benz’s chief operating officer, said during the conference. “I’m convinced this will change over time with better access to charging infrastructure and faster charging times.”
(Updates with VDA comment in the sixth paragraph.)