Incentives for 400,000 Battery and Fuel Cell Cars


August 17, 2016

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Incentives for 400,000 Battery and Fuel Cell Cars


A. Dobrindt at press meeting, © BMVI

The Car Summit that took place in the chancellor’s office resulted in the creation of the long-requested economic incentive for electric cars. In Berlin on April 26, 2016, Chancellor Angela Merkel came to an agreement with the heads of the automotive companies about an “incentive lite,” to which the industry had to contribute at least half of the funding. That didn’t stop other politicians and environmental organizations from criticizing the agreement.

The original plan was to explain at the beginning of the year in what way electric transportation is going to be promoted in the future. However, the German federal government requested another postponement in February 2016, since the departments involved couldn’t come to an agreement. Professor Henning Kagermann subsequently called on the government to announce a decision by March 2016 at the latest, as the target figure would otherwise have to be revised. But in Leipzig, the NPE chair said that he didn’t see a problem with a consensus being reached one month after the deadline he asked for.

In fact, at the end of April, the parties involved did come to an agreement, which was approved on May 18, 2016, by the chief executive body of Germany. Federal economic minister Sigmar Gabriel said: “This is an important signal to the industry. The measures passed today in the cabinet, especially the economic incentive, will lead to more eco-friendly electric cars on our roads. The growing demand will trigger important and essential investments across the entire value chain of electric transportation.”

Government and industry share funding responsibility

The decree now stipulates that buyers of electric-only cars receive EUR 4,000 for their purchase. The amount is the same for fuel cell vehicles. The sales contract, however, must indicate that the carmaker has reduced the car price by half of the overall incentive amount, i.e., EUR 2,000, before the owner can apply for the second half of the incentive online at the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA). People purchasing a plug-in hybrid must abide by the same rules, although they receive a slightly lower amount (EUR 3,000).

BAFA application

As with the 2009 scrappage program, BAFA will again be responsible for payment. BAFA president Arnold Wallraff promised to Autohaus: “Back then, it took us four to five weeks between receiving all relevant papers and paying the owner. We intend to make payout of the electric car incentive even faster.”

In any case, buyers must keep their new electric cars for at least nine months. Additionally, …

More charging points

The entire list of government measures also includes a ten-year exemption from vehicle tax for electric cars bought prior to 2020. They also allow for a tax-free non-cash benefit if the car is charged at work. The expansion of the charging points is said …


Regulatory taboo

In contrast, the Green Party criticized the agreement, pointing in particular to …


The EU Commission gave the green light: On June 16, 2016, Gabriel announced that the subsidy guidelines could be presented to the Economics Committee of the German Bundestag.

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