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Germany Aiming for 1M EVs and PHEVs by 2020

Battery costs are the largest hurdle for a successful market for electric vehicles, according to a VW presentation at the conference. Click to enlarge.

The German federal government wants to take strong measures towards electric and hybrid vehicles in the next ten years, with the goal of putting one million electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) vehicles onto Germany’s roads by 2020. Germany currently has a car parc totalling about 46.1 million vehicles, according to figures published by the European Automobile Manufacturers’s Association (ACEA), with a total vehicle fleet of around 49.7 million as of 2006.

The plan, announced during a German national strategy conference on electric mobility (Nationale Strategiekonferenz Elektromobilität) held in Berlin earlier this week, was drafted jointly by the departments of Economics, Transport, Environment, and Education & Research. It will be finalized and put into legislation early next year.

In his keynote speech, the German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced, “Germany shall become a lead market for electric mobility.” His colleague, Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee, added, “By proving electricity from renewable sources for transport, we can succeed in creating sustainable and climate friendly mobility for the future.” Dagmar Wöhrl, Undersecretary of state with the Economics department, pointed out the opportunity to gain economic independence from oil imports, and Thomas Rachel, representing the Economics and Research department drew attention the chances for strengthening Germany in the domain of battery research and production.

Referring to tax breaks in France and the US, Matthias Wissmann, the president of the German Association of Automakers (VDA) said that “A broad introduction of electric mobility requires providing incentives that promote a change of the power train technique and that make the additional cost of the battery acceptable to the buyer.”

Some 600 participants, mostly executives from German automakers, suppliers, utilities, research institutions, and NGOs attended the conference which had been organized by VDI/VDE-IT. German automakers presented their recently announced electric and hybrid vehicles, such as the BMW Mini E (earlier post), the Daimler E-Smart (earlier post), and the Volkswagen Golf Twin Drive (earlier post).

Furthermore, lightweight vehicles like the two seated TWIKE, and a battery powered light duty commercial vehicle by EcoCraft were shown. Prior to the conference, BMW and the utility company Vattenfall had announced to cooperate in bringing 50 Mini-E to the German capital, and in setting up the required charging infra-structure in spring next year.

In June, the German government and industry partners launched the “Fleet test: electric drive vehicles” (“Flottenversuch Elektromobilität”), a four-year PHEV fleet and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) demonstration project. Volkswagen AG is leading the project, with E.ON (energy provider) and LTC/GAIA and Evonik/Li-Tec (lithium-ion battery providers) as principal partners. (earlier post.) Also contributing from the research side are Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Heidelberg Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (Ifeu), the German Center for Aerospace Technology (DLR), and the Westphalian Wilhelms University at Münster.

The government is also supporting the Lithium Ionen Batterie LIB 2015 (Lithium-Ion Battery LIB 2015) consortium which includes Evonik, Li-Tec, Bosch, BASF, and VW. The consortium is investing €360 million (US$455 million) for research and development of lithium-ion batteries. This will be supplemented by €60 million (US$93 million) in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) over the next three years. (Earlier post.)



stas peterson

This result will happen naturally.

Auto owners simply save money using the advancing technology of advanced drive-trains. So they don't have to be forced or cajoled into doing so, now that the new technology is maturing.

So what is the big deal from our Green governmental saviors. They will have produced exactly nothing to encourage an probably lots of inadvertent obstacles, like excessive new safety regulations etc. to prevent this from happening.


I think it is a good idea that Germany puts a little money behind this one. The market is very short term and oil is <$55/barrel and we are in a recession, so a little bit of public money can keep things going till circumstances improve.

One thing that would be good would be to encourage universities and hackers to get involved with the programming of these systems by opening up some designs to 3rd parties.

If Volkswagen or Ford could put a PHEV Golf or Focus in the public domain - and organised competitions around it, it would generate loads of ideas, better performance and lots of goodwill.

There are loads of hackers and acedemics out there who would love to get involved with this sort of project, and making a decent platform available would really get innovation moving at very low cost.

For a competition, all you need to do is to define a set of tasks: drive from city A to city B, drive in city A and B for so long at certain times etc etc and pay professional testers to run the tests - if you had 3 or 4 testers, and they each tested each car every 6 months or so, it wouldn't cost much and would be reasonably fair.

Car Blog

I am not sure whether the hybrid vehicles will be able to go fast enough on the German Autobahns?


@CB, they will be, once they lower the speed limit to 130 KpH


car blog:

Each lane (on super high ways) could have a very different speed limit such 100 Kph, 140 Kph, 200 Kph etc.

Hybrids, PHEVs and BEVs could drive on lane A @ 100 Kph.

Regular ICE vehicles could drive on lane B @ 140 Kph.

Sort cars (and people in a hurry) could drive on lane C @ 200+ Kph.

Rates could also be different for each lane, i.e 100%, 140% and 200% etc.

Kit P

You could power the Germany's million EV with California's million PV panel initiative. Oh wait that was Bill Clinton that was going to do that.

Visionary speeches based on magic wand technology is called pandering. In Germany 68% of electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels and they have a mandate to shut down their nukes.


Harvey - get real.

In germany, there are mostly 2 lanes of highway each way. a 130KM/Hr limit would help avoid their periodic 100+ car pile ups.

In the US, turtles regularly sit in the left lane oblivious to all.


Separating the lanes might be difficult, but you could implement road pricing based on speed - for instance:

< 70 Kph (clear roads, clear weather) fine for going too slow.

< 100 KpH - normal price
100 - 110 KPH - + 20%
110 - 120 KPH - + 40%
120 - 130 KPH - + 60%
> 130 KPh - Fine for speeding.

It would be trivial to implimemt, but you might find a lot of people parking just before the exits.

They already have average speed cameras all over the UK, you could "green" it as a revenue raising exercise.

Then you would sell a load of GPS systems which could tell you to slow down, or how long to wait till you dropped a grade.


@Car blog
German Autobahns don't actually have to be driven fast.

The German autobahns are famous for being some of the few public roads in the world without blanket speed limits for cars and motorcycles but there are other kinds of limits. Lack of blanket speed limits does not appear to negatively impact the road safety of autobahns compared with motorways in other countries; motorways are safer than other road types. Perhaps this is in part because traffic can be heavy enough to restrict speeds to little above the typical motorway speeds found elsewhere, or due to reducing the exhaustion of the drivers by shortening their travelling times. Certainly, speed limits do apply at junctions and other danger points, like sections under construction or in need of repair. Speed limits at non-construction sites are generally 100 km/h, 120 km/h, or sometimes even 130 km/h; construction sites have a usual speed limit of 80 km/h but may be as low as 60 km/h or even 40 km/h. Certain stretches have separate, and lower, speed limits used in cases of wet lanes.

Some limits were imposed to reduce pollution and noise. Limits can also be put into place temporarily through dynamic traffic guidance systems that display the limit on electronic traffic signs. If there is no speed limit, the recommended speed limit is not more than 130 km/h, referred to in German as the Richtgeschwindigkeit; this speed is not a binding limit, but being involved in an accident driving at higher speeds can lead to being deemed at least partially responsible due to "increased operating danger" (Erhöhte Betriebsgefahr). The average rate of speed traveled on the autobahn in unregulated areas by automobiles not regulated by other laws is about 150 km/h. On average, about half of the total length of the German autobahn network has no speed limit, about one third has a permanent limit, and the remaining parts have a temporary limit for a number of reasons.

Vehicles unable to attain speeds in excess of 60 km/h are not allowed to use the autobahn. Though this limit is not high for most modern vehicles, it prevents very small cars (e.g. quads) and motor-scooters (e.g. Mofas) from using autobahns. To comply with this limit, several heavy-duty trucks in Germany (e.g. for carrying tanks or cranes) have a design speed of 62 km/h (usually denoted by a round black-on-white sign with "62" on it).

In 2004, Germany had installed electricity generating capacity of 118.9 gigawatts. Also in 2004, Germany produced 566.9 billion kilowatthours (Bkwh) and consumed 524.6 Bwkh of electric power. The largest share of this production (61 percent) came from conventional thermal sources* followed by nuclear (28 percent), hydro and other renewables. Germany has an active electricity trade with neighboring countries, though it is usually a net exporter: during the first six months of 2006, Germany’s electricity grid industry association reported that the country exported 34.5 Bkwh of electric power while importing 22.4 Bkwh.

*[Conventional Thermal -Coal is the most important contributor to Germany’s conventional thermal electricity generation. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), generation capacity fired by brown coal represented 42 percent of Germany’s conventional thermal capacity in 2004, with hard coal contributing 37 percent. Despite the environmental concerns surrounding coal-fired generating capacity and Germany’s need to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, the abundance of domestic coal reserves should result in coal remaining as Germany’s most prominent electricity fuel source for the foreseeable future. However, natural gas generation has increased significantly in recent years. Since 1991, the share of conventional thermal electricity generation supplied by natural gas has increased from 7 percent to 16 percent, according to the IEA. The increase in natural gas has mostly come at the expense of oil-fired capacity.]


1 million PHEV's on the road in Germany by 2020? At the rate things are going, the USA will probably have at least 1.5 million PHEV's on the road by 2018 because by 2012, the battery technology necessary to convert a standard hybrid drivetrain vehicle to a PHEV will be finally practical. I wouldn't be surprised that the average Honda Civic by 2018 will have a PHEV drivetrain standard, at least one that offers an all-electric range of about 43 miles (70 km).


So governments are going to raise the electricity bills couple of times more than now by 2020...that means electricity not used for charging cars is also affected...not good...

Andrey Levin

Utter BS. Government money should be channeled to basic R&D, to make new technologies (like PHEV and BEV) economically competitive with traditional ICE vehicles. Before such technologies are competitive, subsidizing economically inferior alternatives on grand scale is waist of money.

It is exactly what is going on with proliferation of inferior and non-scaleable wind and PV solar right now.



By 2020, solar and wind power will be ubiquitous and cheap.


how do u know its gonna be cheap? even right now solar pannel and wind power are used widely and their prices are rising instead of decreasing...


and what does government taxing electricity more do to with solar and wind power???


Historically (since 1973) the price of crystalline silicon solar panels has decreased at the rate of 8% annually and production has increased at a 30% CAGR. Recently, prices have gone up due to a poly-silicon shortage and growth well in excess of the historic 30%. The current economic slump will remove this shortage and bring growth back down to the 30% range, at least for a while. The price should return towards its 8% annual decrease curve. The increasing penetration of thin film solar cells will exert further downward pressure on the price of solar panels.

I am not as knowledgeable on wind power but it has gotten cheaper over the last 20 years and will continue to get cheaper as it goes down its own learning curve. Meanwhile, fossil fuels will continually increase over time.

For more more information on learning curves, a.k.a experience curves, google , or just

[An 80% experience curve means that an item will decrease in cost by 20% every time the cumulative production doubles. For example, solar power production with its 30% CAGR will double every 2.64 years and 80% experience curve implies an 8.1% annual decrease in cost.]

Kit P

“By 2020, solar and wind power will be ubiquitous and cheap.”

Sounds like NorthernPiker's learning curve allows him to make electricity when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow. A learning curve implies that you actual learn something from experience. From experience over the last 35 years making electricity is that people like NorthernPiker who make exaggerated claims never have any experience making electricity.

By 2020, wind and solar will still an insignificant source of electricity.

Also at the present trend, the number of production PHEV will be zero by 2020.

It would not surprise me in the least that broken solar system and wind turbines are a ubiquitous environmental blight by 2020. That is the present situation in the US. Why tear down junk when it makes such a nice picture in a companies annual green washing report.


Vorsprung durch Technik!



Batteries are also going down a learning curve. This make EVs inevitable and improves the usage of batteries for power storage for when both the sun doesn't shine, the wind doesn't blow and the power grid is down.

BTW 30% CAGR means an order of magnitude increase in solar every 8 years until. Grid parity is expected in 2014 in southern California, the world's 6th largest economy. Then the CAGR should increase.


Hey Northern Piker, can you direct me to a reference for those numbers. It is something I have been interested in quantifying for a while.

I don't know if you saw my solar electric car calculations a few weeks ago but I figured that with current solar panels you could drive for 30 km a day in full sunshine, and if manufacturers were to incorpporate them into the design of the body and mass produce them they would probably add about $2000 to the cost of teh car. I didn't go so far as to calculate the relative cost of this with gasoline.

Of course, we both know that solar panels will get more efficient and cheaper with time, so all of those numbers are going to get even better.


I doubt there will be zero and I doubt there will be 1.5 million PHEVs in the US by 2020. Assuming that we get some PHEVs by 2012 - we should be close to a million on the road in 8 years. The first few years will probably be 20,000 but I would expect by 2018 to be over 100,000 per year. Really 1.5 million is not a bad guess - just remember that is about .7% of all cars on the road. Presumably the PHEVs will drive more than the average car so maybe 2% of total miles.

So at 2%, we have not even come close to counteracting population growth.

As far as solar panels and wind, I believe there is a mandate to make up 15% of the total generation capacity by 2020 - oh wait, that also includes hydropower in that 15% - so really only 8% up from the 2-3% there is now. (That 15% was pretty hard fought - BTW)

A dent perhaps - but again, not enough to keep up with population growth. Now - you can look at the CA mandate but really - an unfunded pronouncement from the Governator with no plan on how to do it in a state with a recent history of rolling blackouts.

So for all the wonderful new technologies, the next decade is only marginally influenced by them. US petroleum use is down 7% this year - more than the decade predicted decline based on solar, wind and PHEVs. That was done based on market and the economy - the shock of $146 barrel oil and a recession. Now - neither are sustainable (hopefully).

But if you do absolutely free things like stop selling SUVs and people stop driving pickup trucks to commute - you reduce petroleum use far more in the coming decade than solar and PHEV can do. But wait - there still is no political will for banning SUVs .... we have a long way to go.



Here is a somewhat general reference, from 2002, on learning curves, a.k.a. experience curves, that focuses on PV solar.

Here is a recent article (2006) on learning curves for energy


Actually Germany will produce about 150 billion kWh of wind power by 2020 annually.

But 1 Million EVs only require 2 to 3 billion kWh annually.

In order to take advantage from the vehicle to grid technology many more PHEVs would be required.

Btw, the area of a parking lot is enough to power a PHEV with photovoltaics alone and PHEVs need parking lots anyway.

And if you guys ever driven on German Autobahns, you would know that the majority have a speedlimit of 120 km/h and where there is no speedlimit, the traffic is usually too high to drive safely above 160 km/h most of the time. And 160 km/h is not a problem for a PHEV.


Mark_BC and NorthernPiker,
Get ahold of the book "The Solar Revolution" by Travis Bradford. Mr. Bradford does a nice job of making a prediction of PV price parity in USA based on historical price reduction of 18% every doubling of PV production quantities. His prediction is conservatively based on existing cSi and poly-Si production. The real story, as he realizes and mentions, is thinfilm PV will reach parity sooner. I would make the argument Nanosolar, First Solar, and others are already well beyond this for installation in Southern CA where solar hours are highest and electricity is most expensive (close to 20 cents/kWh). The reason you're not seeing this yet is because production is not anywhere close to demand yet. This is keeping PV prices artificially high, but is also creating very high rates of production development.


Consider an alternative view: AFS Trinity – XH-150 Plug-in Hybrid (E-REV) - May 2008
“AFS Trinity Demonstrates XH-150 Plug-in Hybrid to California Official”
“SYNOPSIS: In a typical 340 mile week of driving, barely two gallons of fuel will be consumed, resulting in 170 miles per gallon.”
“AFS Trinity's fast XH-150 SUV that gets 150 MPG, goes up to 87 MPH on the highway, accelerates faster than comparable gas only vehicles”
87 mph = 139 kmph

You do not need to force people to give up SUVs and SUTs to radically reduce USA use of oil for transport!

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