Berlin (dpa) – A new injection of billions from the federal government is to lead the German auto industry through the Corona crisis and accelerate the switch to more climate-friendly vehicles.
A total of three billion euros is also earmarked, as several ministers involved announced ahead of a key meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and industry representatives on Tuesday evening. Each of the 1 billion euros is earmarked for three key points: incentives for purchasing electric cars will be extended until the end of 2025. A scrapping program aims to encourage the replacement of old trucks with cleaner trucks. In addition, a “Future Fund for the Automotive Industry” is intended to support change in the core branch of the industry in the long term.
Economy Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) said that several million people are employed throughout the industry, including distributors. With two billion euros already committed to the economic stimulus package, the federal government now makes a total of more than five billion euros available to facilitate overcoming the economic crisis, but also to facilitate adaptation to ecological change and digital.
To bring more electric cars on the road, the existing purchase bonus (environmental bonus) had already been significantly increased through an “innovation bonus”; since then, the sales figures have been increasing. This means that car buyers can receive a subsidy of up to 9,000 euros. In return, the federal government doubles its share of the bonus, half of which is paid by manufacturers. This increased purchase premium was initially planned to run through the end of 2021 and will now run through the end of 2025. Until now, fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids that run on electricity and fuel have been subsidized.
Altmaier said the exact future design had been discussed “to the very end.” Environmentalists are particularly critical of the premium plug-in hybrids, as they are often driven primarily as fuel-burning vehicles. Plug-in hybrids would also continue to be funded through the end of 2025, Altmaier said. But they are looking for “a somewhat more ambitious solution for the range of batteries.”
Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) said that it was possible for the first time not to forget the climate crisis in the economic crisis. In 2020, electromobility made a breakthrough thanks to the purchase premium. The expansion of the charging station infrastructure should also be promoted. The same standards cannot be applied to trucks as to passenger cars, as the model range is not yet as wide. With the climate protection and economic stimulus program, 1,200 million euros would already be available to change the propulsion system of trucks.
The new truck scrapping bonus is meant to take old commercial vehicles off the road and boost sales of newer models, as Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) said. The billion that the federal government gives for this will be divided: 500 million euros for companies that change trucks with the Euro 3, 4 and 5 emission standards for trucks that comply with the new Euro 6 standard, and another 500 million euros. euros for public procurement, ie. Example of vintage fire trucks.
Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) said that the path to climate neutrality will only be successful if prosperity and innovative strength are maintained. “The best new machines and systems are of no use if there are no qualified specialists.” That’s why training programs are important so that today’s employees can do tomorrow’s work. According to Altmaier, an expert council for the “future fund” will be formed to prepare practical decisions. Businesses and unions will also be closely involved.
The coalition’s top representatives had campaigned in advance for a longer and increased e-car purchase premium. The ADAC Motoring Club expressed concern. The environmental bonus is valid until 2025 anyway, the additional increase as an innovation bonus should not be paid beyond 2023, Transportation Chairman Gerhard Hillebrand said before the plans were announced. In the case of plug-in hybrids, the premium must also depend on electrical usage.
Environmentalists criticized the project. An extension of the high incentives for electric vehicles is “unacceptable,” said BUND traffic expert Jens Hilgenberg. This is particularly true for plug-in hybrids. The federal government should help suppliers “break their dependency on automobiles with new products.” Greenpeace expert Tobias Austrup said: “Instead of extending expensive premiums for electric cars until Neverland Day, significant surcharges are needed for cars that damage the weather.” Environmental aid required more rail freight rather than truck premiums.