Germany should invest in e-mobility to catch up with China, S Korea

30 November 2010 15:49  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Germany needs to act quickly and invest billions of euros in research and development (R&D) for electric vehicles to catch up with countries such a China, South Korea, Japan, the US, and France, a private-public group said on Tuesday.

In a report, Germany’s “national platform for electric mobility” (NPE) called for an immediate R&D investment of €4.0bn ($5.3bn) through 2013. 

NPE, which groups representatives from politics, industry and research institutes, did not say how much of the funding should come from government.

Klaus Engel, CEO of German specialty chemicals major Evonik and head of the country’s chemical producers trade group VCI, welcomed the report’s findings.

The chemical industry played a key role in electric vehicle mobility, in particular as a supplier of batteries, catalysts, as well as plastics and carbon fibre components, he said.

Technical progress in the electric vehicle sector was only possible on the basis of new solutions from the chemical industry, Engel said.

The NPE report, which was published on the website of the country’s economics ministry, called on Germany “to act quickly and decisively” to achieve a leading position in the sector and avoid falling back further behind other countries.

It also said that Germany should cooperate with China on standards for electric vehicles.

The report noted that drivers in the country seemed to be rather reluctant to pay for the relatively more expensive electric vehicles.

However, Germany, which aims to have 1m electric vehicle on the roads by 2020, should make its approach to the sector a market-driven effort, with regulatory intervention in a secondary, supporting role, the group said.

Economics minister Rainer Bruderle said electric vehicle mobility would create a new “chain of value creation” in Germany that went far beyond the classic automotive sector.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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