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In one of its focal areas the Evolution2Green project aimed to identify obstacles and path dependencies in the field of electromobility, to identify successful approaches to the transition
to electromobility, as well as necessary measures. The facts summarized in the roadmap answer many questions that are currently being raised in the field of electromobility:
- Are electric cars with batteries actually more climate-friendly than efficient hybrid cars or fuel cell vehicles?
- Why is the change of path from combustion engine to electric drive of so grave economic importance?
- Which measures and which actors can help to initiate these changes of path?
In terms of economic policy, there is an opportunity to develop Germany into a leading market for electromobility in the coming years. Such a lead market would have to merge the normative idea of climate-neutral passenger car traffic over the entire lifecycle of a car with the huge head start that the German automotive industry has in the production of high-quality passenger cars. However, the realization of a German lead market for electromobility and thus the aspired technological leadership of German manufacturers requires a rapid growth of the national sales market.
From today's perspective, electromobility can make a major and comparatively rapid contribution to combating the greenhouse effect, reducing pollution in city centres and reducing local noise emissions. But what should we do? How can the existing strong link to the combustion engine be overcome and the new technological field of electric, digital and increasingly autonomous automobiles be opened up? For the successful and large-scale introduction of electric vehicles into the German automobile stock, both short (until 2020) and medium-term (until 2030) measures are required. The task of the short-term measures is primarily to build up the charging infrastructures in a systematic manner and to prepare the sales market for the market launch of numerous electrical models from major German manufacturers planned for the year 2020.
It is of central importance that electric cars become more competitive compared to cars powered by internal combustion engines. This applies to both the sales price and the range of
coverage as well as to a wide range of user-oriented variants. What is important is the development of automobiles that are "electric" from the outset and can thus be produced more
cheaply than cars that are virtually converted "burners", such as the E-Golf or the E-Up. The development of the Post-Streetscooter, the eGo Life, the Tesla Model 3 and also Volkswagen's Modular Electrical Construction Kit (MEB) with its planned models show that this path is promising. The basic model of the Volkswagen ID, which is now being developed, is to have a price structure comparable to that of the Golf. The TCOs will then benefit from lower operating costs.
It is also necessary to change the wishes, expectations and routines of a wide range of customers with regard to automobiles. Even today, the unquestioned basic idea that a car is humming, howling at full throttle and filling up in just a few minutes is still in many minds. It is expected that one can also spontaneously set off on long journeys. Some of these ideas have to change, at least in view of today's battery technology and charging infrastructure. Although it is possible that in the future, with radically shorter charging times, these differences between the combustion engine and the battery-powered vehicle will almost disappear, they are undoubtedly present today. The alteration of these unquestioned ideas and wishes is ultimately a process of changing the mobility culture and it is to be expected that this process will take comparatively much time - in any case several years. If the production start-up of the massproduced electric models of German manufacturers is to meet a market that is ready to take up production in 2020, action must be taken quickly here.
Regional alliances can support the transition to electromobility. These could set the development in production, manufacturing and location marketing around possible clusters of "electromobility" in motion. But also the distribution and use of electric vehicles by private individuals, fleet customers and in tourism could be promoted by such alliances. Information events for car dealerships, fleet and private customers would be organized by such alliances. The cooperation with the municipalities and municipal utilities is just as useful here as the cooperation with electricity suppliers in order to coordinate the charging infrastructure, and to ensure that it makes sense in the future.
The German automotive industry employs a total of over 800,000 people. It exports about 60% of its products worth approximately €250 billion per year. That this industry remains competitive even after the transition to electromobility and that high-priced premium vehicles are successfully exported, is crucial for Germany as a business location. The measures necessary in the medium and long term are aimed at securing and enhancing the competitiveness of German car manufacturers with premium electric vehicles in the world market in the second half of the 1920s and build on the success of the short-term measures.
The importance of battery technology, on which the range, charging times, costs and ecoefficiency of the production of electric vehicles depend decisively, can hardly be overestimated.
Coordinated by the Federal Government and supported by research funding, work should be carried out on research and development as well as on scaling up the production of
battery cells and batteries. R&D on new, more powerful, cheaper and resource-saving battery concepts should be stepped up considerably.
A central strength of the German manufacturers is their ability to produce premium quality products. This even gives them the objective chance of not being the first to introduce electric
cars, but to make them better. However, German manufacturers also need a strong lead market with demanding customers in Germany, for which considerable incentives to buy will be
required for several years to come. Only from a strong domestic market can feedback and impulses come into the R&D of the manufacturers, which help to improve the premium production of German manufacturers. At the beginning of 2018 there seems to be movement here. New press releases report that delivery times are getting longer and that the E-Golf and other electric vehicles on the German market are already sold out for 2018.
In order to be able to implement such a demanding programme of measures, active coordination by the Federal Government and the constructive cooperation of the participating ministries for economy and energy, environment and transport is required.
The debate on the question of the phasing out of the internal combustion engine, which has been raging with emotion time and again, obscures the view that such a phasing out is likely
to happen in the next 30 years, whether we want it or not. In order for this not to result in avoidable misappropriation of manufacturers and suppliers and thus to unnecessarily destroy
both private and economic values, it is necessary to have a less emotional, factual debate about how such an exit can be carried out and how its consequences can be mitigated. It is
already evident that large groups of farsighted manufacturers and suppliers are preparing for the change of path.