In 2016, electric cars and hybrids represented only 1.8% of all new passenger
car registrations in Germany.
It therefore remains a niche market – despite the
introduction of subsidies last year. The average car buyer steers clear of electric
vehicles because of high purchase costs, uncertainty about resale value and
battery life, limited range, a lack of charging stations and lengthy charging
times. This reluctance to buy presents the automotive industry and the state
with a dilemma: strict CO2 limits for new vehicles mean that the industry has to
invest heavily in electric-car technology, but it cannot expect an equivalent
payback in terms of revenue in the foreseeable future.
For the state, it can come down to a straight choice between granting expensive subsidies or failing
to reach climate change targets.