As Governments in Europe all seek more electric car sales to push their goal of lowering fuel consumption and implicitly tame climate change by cutting life-threatening emissions, they also need to think outside the box.
Even though some countries in Europe already offer generous and in some places massive subsidies, it looks like no one wants to buy them. The reasons are mostly economical and practical: even with incentives they cost more than a traditional competitor and people fear the low range would become a problem because of the lack of recharging networks. Germany, on the other hand, even if it’s Europe’s biggest economy and auto market, doesn’t even offer subsidies, though recently Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated the country’s goal of putting one million electric cars on its roads by 2020.
The European Union, driven by its member states, wants to enact tough new fuel economy rules to protect the Earth’s climate as many claim the global warming is human induced. The latest new rules are being rolled out this year and even harsher ones will be in place in 2020-2021 – and automakers won’t be able to meet them if they only improve the internal combustion engines (ICE). A measure of electrification – either battery-driven or fuel cell powered – must be embraced to avoid massive retaliatory penalties.
For Germany, the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) claims that government action is needed to support the carmakers that introduce electric cars and they say a new tax on gasoline could bring the necessary money. The plan set up by professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer from CAR at the University of Duisberg-Essen calls Germany to raise around $2.4 billion by just putting a one-cent tax on the price of gas and diesel for the coming three years. The sum could then be used to provide incentives to new electric vehicle purchases and car-sharing programs, as well as putting in place 80,000 electric charging stations in 60 cities.