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Even Über-Green Germany Not Sold on Electric Cars

The United States isn’t the only country wasting piles of money on failed initiatives to promote electric cars. In Germany, costly measures to encourage electric car development have been useless, as only 4,600 electric cars are on German roads today (that’s less than a hundredth of a percent of all registered cars). The cars are still too expensive and impractical for most Germans: they can only travel 62 miles at a time and cost about $13,000 more than a normal car.

Whether the government should continue to support the electric car industry is now a bone of contention, as Spiegel reports:

The country has already pumped €500 million in state aid into the promotion of electromobility as part of its fiscal stimulus measures during the global economic crisis. By 2013, Berlin is expected to provide an additional billion euros in funding for research and development projects. However, the chancellor has refused to offer incentives or tax breaks to consumers to fuel spending on e-cars, saying it won’t happen during the current government’s term. With fiscal belt-tightening and the euro bailout, there’s greater competition today for funding. Meanwhile, Merkel’s transportation minister, Peter Ramsauer, and Economics Minister Philipp Rösler have refused to back buyer incentive programs, arguing that road repair and construction should be given a priority.

Spiegel goes on to point to a selection of German editorials that all argue such incentives are a waste when the industry has so far to go.

Germany is perhaps the greenest country on earth when it comes to things like renewable energy and micro-flush toilets. If Germany isn’t ready for electric cars, who is?

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