27. April 2016

Buyer’s premium for electric cars is just “subsidising the roads”

Federal Chancellery car summit: taxpayer funding for e-mobility lacks imagination

Hardly any electric cars have been sold in Germany so far. It is highly doubtful whether a buyer’s premium will change that.

Berlin,  April 27, 2016. The Pro-Rail Alliance has said the multibillion subsidy package for electric cars, which was agreed at the Federal Chancellery, is “one-sidedly road oriented, useless for the environment and expensive for taxpayers”. “The Pro-Rail Alliance decisively rejects taxpayer funded incentives for buying electric cars. The way the government is dealing with this issue means that its support for e-mobility is simply turning into subsidies for the roads. Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on unsellable electric cars there should be an integrated approach to supporting e-mobility. Above all, this means focussing on public transport,” said the managing director of the German Pro-Rail Alliance on Wednesday in Berlin. The fact that the current debate now largely “equates e-mobility with state subsidies for technically underdeveloped cars is grotesque,” said Flege. He pointed out that the railways already offered mobility that was largely electrically powered and environmentally friendly.

“Reducing the tax burden on TOCs would be better”

“We are calling for a government initiative on e-mobility that incorporates all transport modes,” said the Pro-Rail Alliance manager. “On the railways there are also a lot of areas that need support. The government should press ahead with the electrification of additional rail lines and provide a considerable reduction in the tax on traction electricity that burdens the environmentally friendly railways. Instead of subsidising expensive cars with buyer’s premiums and tax incentives, commuters want better integration between private transport and the public transport network. Fully developed recharging infrastructure at train stations and park & ride facilities would be much more useful for the environment.” The government could also support the development of battery powered multiple units and last-mile locomotives, said Flege. He criticised the funding of incentives out of the public budget as “lacking in imagination”. “E-mobility should not be paid for by raiding the government’s tax coffers but by increasing the levies on transport that uses fossil fuels”.