The E-Car Story No Longer Resonates

The E-Car Story No Longer Resonates

Germany was once set to become the global “leading market” for electric vehicle (EV) technology, as stated in the coalition agreement of the Ampel government. However, market data tells a different story: China is currently the leading market for electric cars. While Germany remains the most important sales market and the leading producer in Europe, its position is gradually eroding. There was supposed to be a “ramp-up” of electromobility, with sales figures rising steeply. Instead, the opposite is happening. In May, new registrations of battery electric cars in Germany were 30 percent below the previous year’s level.

This decline can no longer be dismissed as a temporary dip in EV sales following the abrupt end of the environmental bonus. Much suggests that the entire e-car story no longer holds appeal. Customers who are drawn to new innovations, have a passion for environmental protection, enough money, and a garage with a charging station are largely already driving electric cars. Attracting new customer groups beyond this avant-garde is proving difficult. The disappointment over the unforeseen end of the environmental bonus in Germany plays a significant role in this.

Will China Become the Monopolist for E-Cars?

Now, even automakers who believed political promises about the future of e-mobility and invested billions in developing electric cars and converting production facilities are facing disappointment. The two Volkswagen factories in Emden and Zwickau, which are supposed to produce only electric cars, are far from fully utilized. The Ford factory in Cologne faces a similar fate. Even at BMW, which has so far managed a variable mix of electric and combustion engines, there are questions about whether the step towards pure electromobility with a new factory in Hungary will be profitable.

It is clear that if the current investments in the future of electric cars in Germany do not pay off, the European automotive industry will be more cautious about new investments in the future of e-cars. China would then become not just the leading market but the monopolist for electric cars. Soon, it will become evident whether Europe’s industrial policymakers are strategists or merely make empty promises without backing them up with action.

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