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Electromobility – the future is now

Electromobility is a building block for a sustainable and resource-saving mobility system – and offers enormous opportunities for Germany as a business location.

In the past year, 2020, alone, almost 400,000 electric vehicles were newly registered in Germany, of which 194,163 were pure battery electric passenger cars (BEV) and 200,469 were plug-in hybrid passenger cars (PHEV). This means that the number of newly registered BEVs has almost tripled compared to the previous year, while the number of PHEVs has even quadrupled. The positive trend is continuing this year as well: Around 200,000 new electric vehicles were registered in the first half of 2021 The market ramp-up is currently based on the extensive support measures and incentives provided by policymakers. The German government's original target of one million electric vehicles by 2020 was achieved with just a few months' delay in July 2021.

Germany is thus catching up with the international lead markets for electromobility. Electric vehicles from German manufacturers are in high demand in Germany and Europe: Two-thirds of new registrations in 2020 were vehicles from German manufacturers. In Europe, almost every second newly registered electric car currently comes from German group brands. In Norway – where electric vehicles account for 70 percent of the total market – German manufacturers are e-car market leaders with a 50 percent share of all new e-vehicle registrations.

Innovative vehicle and drive technologies

Electric vehicles, battery-electric and fuel cell-electric, thus point the way to more sustainable mobility. Two forms of drive for battery-electric vehicles have currently become established on the market. The common feature is that the batteries of the vehicles can be recharged directly via the electricity network. In a purely battery-powered vehicle (BEV), the energy for propulsion comes exclusively from the battery. Plug-in hybrids combine an internal combustion engine and an electric motor drive, whereby the battery can still be charged from an external source. In addition, fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) are also classified as electric vehicles, but they do not use a battery to store energy; instead, they refuel with hydrogen. FCEVs convert the chemical energy of hydrogen into electrical energy directly on board. While battery-electric vehicles are available on the market as mass-produced vehicles, there is currently no corresponding variety of models for FCEV customers.

Model diversity – symbol of a policy change

In no other country are customers able to choose from such a variety of e-vehicles across all segments: With over 70 electric vehicle models, German manufacturers are now among the leading suppliers internationally. By the end of 2023, German manufacturers will have expanded their range to 150 models. No other automobile nation has a comparable diversity across all vehicle segments. Every third patent worldwide in the field of electromobility comes from Germany. For the further ramp-up of e-mobility, the German automotive industry alone is planning investments of around 150 billion euros by 2025.

Charging infrastructure – the basic requirement for the success of electromobility

The development of charging infrastructure is also gaining momentum. A total of around 46,000 publicly accessible charging points are currently available throughout Germany, of which around 39,400 are standard charging points and around 6,700 are fast charging points. However: The establishment of a nationwide charging infrastructure is proving to be a key challenge for the further ramp-up of electromobility and must pick up speed significantly. To this end, the charging infrastructure master plan must be implemented quickly and the funding for publicly accessible and private charging points must be made permanent until the charging infrastructure is economically viable. In the process, further emphasis should be placed on fast-charging infrastructure, inner-city charging hubs, and charging networks for commercial vehicles.

New rules for adding value

For Germany, electromobility means the challenge of securing its leading position as a location for industry, science and technology and of opening up new fields of business. Opportunities arise in the industry segments that anchor know-how about the future key technologies, such as battery development, vehicle construction or innovative material technologies in the companies. Composite materials in lightweight construction, for example, help to reduce weight – be it in the vehicle body, wheel rims or the interior. This in turn benefits the range extension of electric vehicles.

The resulting added value chains are characterised today, as they will be in the future, by the close cooperation of all the industrial sectors involved: From automotive, steel, metals, chemicals and energy to electronics and electrical engineering, information and communication technology, textiles and glass. Furthermore, electromobility provides important impulses for other sectors. Battery-powered vehicles need their own charging infrastructure, and hydrogen filling stations must be available for fuel cell vehicles. In addition, there are new digital service offers around electromobility.

For Germany as an industrial location, it is important to strengthen and expand existing value chains and secure jobs in a technology-open approach. To this end, the members of the Electromobility Industry Group - an association of relevant industries for the electromobility value chain in Germany - have drawn up joint “Recommendations on electromobility from industry to the 20th German Federal Parliament: Fit for green mobility – with the right strategic measures!“.