– Have you heard?

– Heard what?

– The EU vote on car fleet emissions that would ban the sale of new combustion engine vehicles has been delayed after Germany’s last-minute refusal to endorse the regulation without exceptions.

– What are those exceptions that the German government wants to incorporate into the final regulations?

– Germany wants an exemption for new cars that use e-fuels.E-fuels are made by synthesizing captured CO2 emissions and hydrogen produced using renewable or CO2-free electricity.

– I see. Is Germany the only EU member blocking the deal?

– Bulgaria, Poland and Italy are against the ban, too.  Countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden back the 2035 phaseout.

– Interesting. Does Germany have an EV target at all?

– The country aims to have at least 15 million fully electric passenger cars on the roads by 2030.

– And how many electric cars does Germany currently have?

– The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) has reported that the mark of one million pure electric cars in Germany has been crossed in December 2022.

– It’s always good to pass milestones like this, but is Germany on track to reaching the 15 million target?

– Good question. The think tank Agora Verkehrswende has recently reported that current sales are making this target increasingly difficult to reach.  Agora Verkehrswende says an average of around 5,000 EVs would have to be registered every day already this year in order to increase the number to 15 million BEVs by 2030. So far, sales are far below that level.

– And what about the charging infrastructure? Is the pace of expansion sufficient to meet Germany’s EV target?

– Not exactly. Last year PwC said a sluggish expansion of charging infrastructure jeopardised the government’s target. In its report, PwC blamed bureaucratic approval procedures and coordination problems between different players in the sector for the sluggish charging expansion rate.

– What is the opinion of the German carmakers about this?

– Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have recently urged the government to do more scale-up of the EV charging stations across the country. Also, earlier this week Mercedes-Benz has shared more details about its plans for its own charging network for EVs. The first fast-charging stations will be built in Germany and France this year. In the U.S., the first 20 charging parks are planned this year, as well.

– And what is your view on this?

– I’m not an EV expert, but I think charging options at home and at work will play an important role in the future, as well.

– What could help accelerate the EV expansion in Germany?

– Some experts expect the price of EV and ICE cars to reach the same level by 2025 for many models. This would definitely have a positive impact on EV sales. There are a couple of other factors, as well.

– I wish we could discuss the possible impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on the strategy of German carmakers, as well. However, I need to run to catch the Wolfsburg – Union Berlin soccer game.

– No worries. By the way, did you know that Volkswagen’s factory in Wolfsburg is renowned globally as the largest manufacturing plant in the world, in terms of area spread across 70 million square feet? The factory employs more than 60,000 people and the production lines are 2.5 kilometre long and 300 meter wide.

– Wow! Id didn’t know this. I really have to go now. Many thanks for the chat, Jonas.

– You are always welcome, Janis. Enjoy the game!