German carmakers have dominated in the past, but critics say they are late when it comes to electric vehicles. Can Germany still take the lead in this field?
E-mobility is not a sprint to the finish; it’s more of a marathon. What is decisive is who can be most innovative in the long term. In that sense, I see German manufacturers and suppliers as well positioned. We are already leaders in e-mobility and alternative power trains – every third patent in this sector worldwide comes from Germany. And by 2024, German automotive companies will have invested EUR 50 billion in this area.
What challenges do you see up the road for Germany’s auto industry?
To meet the EU’s ambitious fleet emissions limits by 2030, e-vehicles must achieve high market penetration quickly. By 2030, Germany must have 7 to 10.5 million e-vehicles on the road. The fact that we’re now seeing new models coming in greater numbers will be well received by the market. But e-mobility can only succeed if the appropriate charging infrastructure is available and if vehicles can be charged in a consumer-friendly way all over Europe.
So charging infrastructure urgently needs to be prioritized. We will only be able to do this if the auto industry, the energy sector, communities and start-ups all work together. The German auto industry itself will invest in 100,000 charging points by 2030. A fast charging network is also being built on main roads by IONITY (a joint venture between major car manufacturers) – 100 fast chargers will be in service in Germany by the end of 2020.
Basically, we are looking at a fundamental structural change that requires enormous investment. What is urgently needed is an industrial policy with clear goals and timelines.