BERLIN (Reuters) – German carmakers Mercedes-Benz and VW have urged the government to do more to scale up the number of electric vehicle charging stations across the country, German paper Bild am Sonntag wrote on Sunday.
“To speed up the change (to electric vehicles), we need to be sure that the charging station infrastructure is being built up,” Mercedes-Benz Chief Executive Ola Kallenius was quoted as saying by the paper. “That’s also a question for politics.”
VW Chief Executive Oliver Blume agreed more speed was needed and that the construction of charging stations was “a common task of the economy, federal government and communes”.
The German government last October approved a plan to spend 6.3 billion euros ($6.74 billion) to rapidly scale up the number of charging stations across the country, as part of its push towards net zero emissions. The plan included speeding up state approvals to build charging points.
Industry associations, which have long complained the government has not kept pace with the rapid expansion of electric vehicles, said the implementation of the proposals was key.
“The future of the car is electric,” Kallenius was quoted as saying. “By the end of this decade, we want to be ready to completely transition to electric cars in our market segment, wherever the market conditions allow it,” he said.
“It’s not a foregone conclusion, rather it will require a gigantic industrial conversion.”
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(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
Volkswagen (VW) and Mercedes-Benz are urging the German government to accelerate the expansion of the country’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network, according to a Reuters report.
The German government has a target of one million electric cars on the road by 2020. However, only a few thousand are currently registered in the country. To incentivize consumers to switch from petrol-powered vehicles to electric, VW and Mercedes-Benz, who seem to be the main drivers of this initiative, are calling on Berlin to invest in building an extensive and reliable charging network infrastructure.
The current infrastructure does have some good points, as charging time for planes is about 3.5 to 4 hours for most vehicles, but this is still far behind the 15 minute charge times that carmakers are aiming at.
VW is reportedly looking to expand its public charging network to more than 6,000 sites by 2020, while Mercedes-Benz is investing in more than 1,000 charging points at its own dealerships. Other automakers in Germany are also expected to announce similar initiatives in the coming weeks and months.
In addition to private investment, the German government has been working to fund public charging networks. It plans to offer up to EUR2 billion in subsidies over the next five years, as well as incentives such as tax breaks for businesses and homeowners and other regulatory breaks.
The government’s goal is to create an environment where electric cars become a popular choice for drivers. Despite these efforts, though, the lack of easily accessible charging stations remains a major concern for EV owners. If Germany is to meet its EV goals, accelerating the expansion of the EV charging network is essential.