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No. 274/08 | Berlin, 25.11.2008

Germany aims to become market leader in electric mobility

National strategy conference on electric mobility

Electric vehicles are the future. They will soon be an everyday sight in city traffic. As many as a million plug-in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are expected to drive on German streets by 2020. In order to achieve this, the German government will continue to bundle expertise from industry, the science sector and politics, and implement a catalogue of measures ranging from support for battery research to incentives for market introduction. This will make Germany a market leader within the next ten years. It will strengthen Germany's competitiveness at the international level while at the same time promoting climate protection.

The German government is currently drawing up a National Development Plan for Electric Mobility, designed to cover a period of 10 years, which will soon be presented to the federal cabinet. The basic elements of this plan will be presented to the general public at the national strategy conference on electric mobility in Berlin on 25 and 26 November 2008, and they will be discussed with experts from industry, NGOs and the science sector.

Federal Minister of Transport Wolfgang Tiefensee commented: "Cars which drive exclusively on fossil fuels will become phase-out models in the long term. Electric vehicles with batteries and fuel cells are the future. This technology holds the greatest potential for a long-term reduction of CO2 emissions. Electric mobility is also a fundamental element of our "move away from oil". Electric vehicles help us reduce the amounts of pollutants, fine particles and noise in cities and agglomerations, and they will increase our quality of life. It is my goal to achieve a breakthrough regarding both a novel mobility and modern urban and spatial planning with the aid of electric mobility. This is what I consider a modern and ecological infrastructure and transport policy which takes on social responsibility.

Federal Environment Minister Gabriel remarked: "In connection with electricity from renewable energy sources, electric vehicles allow for a modern and climate-friendly mobility which also saves resources. An electric vehicle can only become a true zero emissions vehicle if it is powered by clean energy from renewable sources. These two future-oriented technologies belong together. Not least because the batteries of parked electric vehicles can be integrated into the electricity grid and thus serve as a buffer storage for fluctuations in the power supply from wind or solar power plants. Bearing this connection in mind we had every reason to anchor electric mobility in the German government's Integrated Energy and Climate Programme."

"The market introduction of electric vehicles will entail a rise in electricity sales. At the same time, we will become a great deal less dependent on oil imports and the strongly fluctuating prices on the crude oil market. It is now important for us to rapidly establish an efficient network between automobile manufacturers and utility companies," said Dagmar Wöhrl, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. Powerful, affordable and safe batteries are an essential requirement for a wide market introduction. Developing electric drivetrains requires efficient concepts for vehicles and new components to manage energy and performance. Using batteries as grid energy storage requires smart interfaces based on information and communication technology which control charging and discharging depending on grid loads, consumption peaks and tariffs. Therefore, considerable efforts in research and development are still necessary with regard to energy storage, automotive engineering and grid integration. There is also need for action in the fields of standardisation, regulation, recycling, vocational and further training.

Thomas Rachel (MP), Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), stated: "Powerful batteries are indispensable for electric vehicles to succeed. The BMBF already promotes lithium-ion batteries, a crucial technology for storing energy. We believe that alliances for innovation and efficient partnerships between the public and the private sector will help us achieve our goals." An industrial consortium has already pledged 360 million euro to research and development for lithium-ion batteries over the next few years. The BMBF will provide 60 million euro for this technology over the next four years.

The potential of electric mobility can only be fully exploited with rapid market introduction. This will be achieved in particular through new types of cooperation, e.g. between automobile manufacturers and utility companies, the development of legal framework conditions, new technological standards for vehicles and charging stations, future-oriented spatial and urban planning and the testing of new business models.

Here, the German government follows up on existing research programmes on energy and transport . In addition, industry and political decision-makers will make joint efforts to implement measures to support innovation, create a link to renewable energy sources, increase consumer acceptance, prepare the market and introduce electric vehicles. Initiatives for cross-sectoral exchange, interlinking and transfer of knowledge will support the implementation of the National Development Plan for Electric Mobility.

The German government expects that the national strategy conference on electric mobility, which takes place in Berlin today and tomorrow, will provide decisive impetus and concrete stimulus for shaping the work programme of the development plan. Around 400 experts and decision-makers from the automotive industry and suppliers, energy industry, battery research, the information and communication technology sector, environmental associations, politics and administration will participate in the conference.

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