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Germany has emerged as Europe’s electric mobility champion. There were 400,000 new electric car registrations in 2020, with subsidies and infrastructure rollout driving vehicle sales.
Germany established itself as the European electric mobility leader in 2020, with new vehicle sales of 400,000 for the year. A comparison of new electric car registrations for May 2020 and May 2021 shows a 380 percent increase. Electric vehicles (EV) account for just under 12 percent of the total number of newly registered vehicles. Attractive vehicle purchase subsidies have helped drive sales, with pure electric vehicles posting a 20.5 percent increase even in the coronavirus-induced crisis month of May 2020 when the auto industry witnessed a slump of around 50 percent in vehicle registrations across all classes. Willingness to switch to electric vehicles is also increasing, with around one in three Germans prepared to buy an electric car according to a survey conducted by Civey. Germany’s efforts to scale up electric mobility were further bolstered by the recent passing of a law stipulating the inclusion of EV charging infrastructure and parking spaces in all new and refurbished buildings.
Global demand for German and European technologies to service the electric battery sector will create a market worth up to EUR 60 billion by 2030, with annual sales volume of at least EUR 20 billion according technology consultancy Altran. According to the Fraunhofer Institute, battery factories with an annual production capacity of 500 to 600 gigawatt hours could be set up in Germany by 2030 – equivalent to almost one third of global production and enough to equip 10 million electric vehicles. Germany is already home to numerous companies and suppliers that are important providers in the value chain from cell chemistry and materials preparation through to final battery cell production.
Tesla has submitted formal application plans for the construction of a battery factory in Brandenburg. The electric vehicle manufacturer extended and submitted the new plans as part of its permit application for the construction of its car factory. Vehicle production is set to begin at the end of the year as part of the revised plans.
A number of German start-ups specializing in battery analysis are attracting the interest of large suppliers and manufacturers who require third party electric battery-life solutions. Dresden-based company Novum Engineering is just one of several German start-ups specializing in battery analysis to extend battery life, with Twaice in Munich and Accure in Aachen also enticing companies from the automotive and energy sectors with the promise of precise battery charging and residual capacity data. A number of start-ups are now involved in test and pilot projects to simulate battery performance and charging processes.
Volkswagen has announced plans to introduce bidirectional charging to its vehicles. As of 2022, all electric vehicles produced by the Volkswagen Group will be developed on the basis of the “Modular Electrification Toolkit” (MEB) that allows unused energy to flow back into the grid. Two bidirectional scenarios are emerging, the first being “vehicle to home” (where electric vehicles can store energy from a photovoltaic system, for example, and feed it back into the household energy supply) and “vehicle to grid” where all of the vehicles connected to a charging station can be linked to form a huge electricity storage system. Test vehicle development is already underway with the group entering the final preparation stages before rollout next year.
Swabian battery manufacturer Varta is reportedly seeking to enter the electric mobility battery-cell market. To date, Varta has mainly produced small lithium-ion button cells for wireless headphones as well as household batteries for remote controls, watches, flashlights and other small devices. The company is currently setting up a pilot project for a large format 21700 battery cell primarily for use in high-performance electric vehicles at its Ellwangen headquarters. Industry insiders believe that the company is currently in talks with a number of car manufacturers.
Germany has become the world's second-biggest electric car market, with German OEMs already taking steps to secure their position in the future digital mobility market.
Germany has overtaken the USA to become the world’s second-largest market for electric vehicles. Generous subsidies for electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles have led to a boom in Germany and Europe. New vehicle purchase premiums of up to EUR 9,000 have kick-started demand, allowing Germany to overtake the US as the world’s second-largest market for electric vehicles according to the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW).
China remains the largest market for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles with 1.25 million new registrations in 2020, although demand is falling with the market growing by just three percent in the same period. However, global demand has increased by 38 percent, fueled by demand from Europe, led by Germany with a 264 percent increase (395,000 vehicles). The demand has given a fillip to domestic vehicle manufacturers, with VW recording 422,000 new electric car and plug-in registrations in 2020. The Wolfsburg-based car giant overtook Tesla for the first time in Q4/20, selling 192,00 electric cars (compared to Tesla’s 181,000 over the same period).
German auto manufacturers doubled their global production of electric and plug-in vehicles last year, producing more than a quarter of all electric passenger vehicles made worldwide.
German auto brands continue to dominate the world’s most valuable auto brands despite the harsh effects of the coronavirus crisis on the auto industry. According to the Brand Finance Global 500 2021 ranking, the country’s auto industry dominates globally with a cumulative brand value of USD 201.8 billion.
Mercedes retains its position as Germany’s most valuable brand across all industry sectors, with VW, BMW, Porsche, and Audi all occupying spots in the global top 10 most valuable auto brands. German companies in the top 10 have a combined brand value of USD 197.2 billion – equivalent to 54.7 percent of the top 10 most valuable auto brands.
Having successfully made the move to electric vehicles, VW has announced ambitious plans to revolutionize its business model. According to Handelsblatt, the Wolfsburg-based concern is currently working on a “Business Model 2.0” strategy that will see its primary focus placed on software and services provision. The digital transformation presaged by VW is premised upon the future value of electric and autonomous vehicles being measured in terms of digital services. To that end, VW is examining the possibility of partnerships with start-ups like Isar Aerospace in order to develop solutions for car connectivity to the satellite internet.
Handelsblatt reports that, although the further course of action will be determined in the coming years, the project is already in progress within VW development departments. In March, VW presented its technology roadmap for battery and charging up to 2030, with ambitious plans for a number of charging cooperations, a new unit battery cell and six battery-cell factories across Europe.
German carmaker Audi intends to build its own charging infrastructure of between 200 and 400 stations for electric vehicles. Speaking to Handelsblatt, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann argued the necessity for the plan, citing the fact that at least 30 percent of Audi cars sold in Europe will be electric in the next four years. “We don’t want sales of our vehicles to fall due to a lack of charging stations.”
The VW subsidiary has however come in for criticism from the German Federal Association for E-Mobility, which believes that Audi’s draft plan fails to conform to existing specialized laws and regulatory fundamentals as well the associated infrastructure for electric mobility. Germany’s transport ministry is investing almost two billion euros in extending the charging infrastructure along the national motorway network.
Daimler Trucks and Volvo are set to join forces for the joint development of fuel-cell systems following EU competition regulator approval. The decision leaves the way open for the two companies to establish the new company focused on the research and development, production and sales of heavy truck fuel-cell systems. The venture will see Volvo acquire 50 percent of the company for around EUR 600 million, with the transaction set to be finalized in the first half of the year.You can find this fragment in the following contexts: