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Electric cars: Nobody wants them without a bonus


The federal government is delaying the new bonus for electric cars. Some foreign manufacturers are now paying for it themselves. They want to use their lead over the German one.

6,000 euros, 8,000 euros - who offers more? Some car manufacturers are currently overturning allowances for electric cars. More precisely: foreign car brands do that. And they also pay the environmental bonus for the most part themselves. Renault offers a 6,000 euro discount on the Zoe, of which the state only pays 2,000 euro. Hyundai puts even more on it. Anyone who buys an electric Kona or Ioniq can deduct 8,000 euros. The South Korean manufacturer deducts 6,000 euros from the net list price. The state pays the remaining 2,000 euros.

However, this is still the old environmental bonus. In November 2019, the car industry and the federal government agreed on an increase in the allowance for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles at the car summit in the Chancellery (see box). The increase should apply as soon as possible, with the federal government providing around two billion euros in budget funds by 2025. The same amount comes from the car manufacturers. Mathematically, around 116,000 electric cars could be funded each year to the end. Around 63,000 electric cars were registered in Germany last year.

Renault in particular sold many electric Zoe in 2019. The small car was the most approved electric car in front of the BMW i3 in Germany. Renault is in second place among the manufacturers with the most funding applications since the introduction of the environmental bonus in 2016. It is of course inconvenient that the new environmental bonus is delayed. Because most interested parties only sign the purchase contract when the higher environmental bonus is paid out. Especially in the small car sector, the higher environmental bonus should have a signal effect. "He makes it clear that there is no doubt about electric drives," says Stefan Reindl, director of the Institute for the Automotive Industry in Geislingen.

However, as the ZEIT reports, the delay in the environmental bonus is not - as the Federal Government claims - the EU Commission's state aid review. The Federal Ministry of Economics has not yet submitted the application. It is reasonable to assume that German car manufacturers have delayed the process.

Because they are obviously not yet ready for the run on electric cars. Example ID.3: The electric car is to mark Volkswagen's entry into the electric mass market. But there are problems with the software. There are a number of vehicles in halls or in the open air, waiting for updates. According to a VW document published in France, delivery of the first edition is scheduled to start in summer 2020. The other ID.3 models will follow in autumn.

Battery problems

With two other manufacturers, it looks like electric cars are not making progress - on the contrary. Audi announces short-time work for its Brussels plant. This is where the electric e-tron is made. The reason is problems with the battery. The main supplier of Audi in this area is LG Chem. The Koreans produce the cells in a factory in Wroclaw, Poland. According to several media reports, there were always quality problems.

The Daimler group also purchases battery cells from LG Chem. DieStuttgarter deny a report by the manager magazine , according to which the capacity of 60,000 EQC will be halved this year. "We are sticking to our production target of 50,000 EQC for 2020," said a Daimler spokesman. In the report, Daimler's works council chief Michael Brecht criticizes that his company is dependent on Asian cell manufacturers. At the same time, it betrayed that Tesla had messed up its in-house cell production, and the Americans bought the automation specialist Grohmann, who was involved in setting up the cell production at the Kamenz plant.

In addition to the problems with battery cells, there are only a few managers in the group who seem to be behind the electric car. Internally, the EQC is considered a "CO2 compliance car". The car is based on the GLC model and is therefore designed for an internal combustion engine. ZF supplies the entire drive unit with two motors, gearbox, power electronics and control software. Competence building in the field of electromobility looks different. After all, Daimler wants to expand the EQ series this year with an electric minibus (EQV) and an SUV (EQA). But before summer 2020 it won't be anything.

Another example of a lack of enthusiasm for electromobility is the iX3 from BMW. In 2013, the i3 was still a pioneer for electric cars. The iX3 is now identical to the conventional X3.

CO2 limits can only be achieved with e-cars

Foreign manufacturers, on the other hand, already have a solid selection of everything from small electric cars and limousines to SUVs. These days, the PSA Group is bringing new models to its dealers with the Peugeote-2008 and the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. No wonder that they want to take advantage of their lead and some are now taking over the environmental bonus themselves.

The German manufacturers are facing another problem due to the delay: From this year, stricter CO2 regulations will apply. Now it may be tight for German brands if they bring their models to customers too late.

As long as German car manufacturers do not present an attractive range of electric cars in their dealerships, no one will access them. The delay in the bonus increase creates additional uncertainty. The change in the auto industry is about speed. VW CEO Herbert Diess recently asked the rhetorical question to executives: Are we fast enough? He gave an honest answer: "If we continue at our current pace, it will be very tight."

Source: zeit

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