Cabinet retreat yields new plans for e-car incentives and digital strategy

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The Merkel government has decided to further increase incentives for e-cars and improve nationwide mobile phone coverage.

At its meeting at Meseberg Castle, the Federal Cabinet decided to considerably expand the incentives for electric cars. As decided two weeks ago at a summit with the major car manufacturers, the subsidy for vehicles of up to 40,000 euros purchase price will increase by 50 percent, for vehicles over 40,000 euros by 25 percent.

This means that in the future the buyer of an electric car will receive a subsidy of up to 6000 euros, or for the more expensive models 5000 euros. The subsidy will also be extended until the end of 2025. The automobile industry will continue to bear half of the costs.

The charging infrastructure is also to be strengthened. Initially, until 2025 there will be government support to set up charging stations in rural regions. In order to accelerate the expansion of the charging network, new regulations will require petrol stations to install charging station. By 2022, the government aims to have at least four fast charging points at each motorway service station. In addition, building and tenancy law is to be changed so that more private loading facilities can be created.

Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) said: “Today, the Federal Cabinet has set an important course for electric vehicles to find their way into our everyday lives.” The Federal Government will provide around two billion euros for the longer funding period. The premium has so far been limited to the end of 2020.

Buying premium also for used vehicles

In the future, there will also be a buying incentive for second-hand vehicle sales such as for company cars. In the coming months and years, the car manufacturers want significantly increase the number of e-cars on the market. In order to achieve the climate targets of 2030, seven to ten million e-cars will be needed in Germany by then, according to the “Master Plan Charging Infrastructure” of the Federal Government. So far, however, demand for e-cars has remained limited.

Mobile coverage nationwide

In addition to electromobility, the improvement of mobile coverage was a key topic. To this end, the federal government intends to invest more than one billion euros in the expansion of the mobile network. According to Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU), this will cover 99.95 percent of households and 97.5 percent of Germany.

In addition, the government decided to install 5000 additional cell towers in rural areas. Helge Braun (CDU), Head of the Chancellor’s Office, admitted in Meseberg that the current mobile coverage in Germany was only 93.94 percent. This would annoy people because of disconnections, for example when driving a car.

The additional 1.1 billion euros promised by the federal government for the expansion of mobile communications would now come from the proceeds of the auction of the 5G licences. Braun said that the regulatory requirements for the telecommunications companies at the auction of the UMTS connections in 2000 were not sufficient. Now the state recognizes that there are sparsely populated regions in which it is not possible to build a cost-covering mobile network structure. Therefore, the government would intervene in the future. To this end, a public company is to be set up specifically to build and operate cell towers in these regions. Braun promised a “fundamental” improvement of coverage in the next two years.

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