German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reiterated a target to have around a million electric vehicles plying Germany’s road by the end of the decade, despite weak interest from consumers. The German government is hosting a two-day industry summit in Berlin to promote electric-powered vehicles, after lesser than 3,000 electric cars were sold in 2012 in a country where 3 million vehicles were delivered in the year.
The German auto industry is planning to invest around EUR12 billion ($15.52 billion) in alternative powertrains -- including battery-powered electric cars -- in the next three to four years, according to industry association VDA. VDA president Matthias Wissmann remarked that “driving electrically” is not a vision anymore, but a reality. He noted that thousands of electric cars are already on Germany roads, adding that by the end of 2014, German carmakers will have at least 16 electric cars on sale.
Merkel affirmed her target in a statement, emphasizing the importance of cross-border cooperation. Electric cars were once regarded as a technology that would revolutionize the auto industry and would rival conventional units in terms of numbers.
However, sales of such vehicles were hardly impressive due to high costs and range limitations. According to a survey of around 1,000 drivers in Germany by the motoring club ADAC, Germans are now more skeptical of electric cars than two years ago and are now less willing to deal with inconveniences like long charging times. According to ADAC, almost 50 percent of German car owners are unwilling to pay more for an electric car for their next vehicle purchase. [source: automotive news - sub. required]