Germany and the Global Competition for EV Supremacy
Europe, Asiaand North America are expecting to see increasing numbers of greenercars. Grid operators in the US and Canada anticipate 1 million plug-in vehicles in North America within 5-10 years. Firms like Japan’s Nissan and Panasonic, China’s BYD, South Korea’s LG Chem, and France’sRenault are already investing massively in greener car technologies.
The governments of the US, China, France and many other EU states areoffering EV buyer incentives in the form of substantial subsidies.
When the Germans realized that they were falling behind in electric vehicletechnology, the country’s economic and transport ministers, as well asChancellor Merkel called for concentrated, urgent efforts to catch up.Although nothing breeds success like healthy competition, the Germangovernment is helping its auto industry develop low and zero emissionvehicles.
In 2009 the German government awarded €21 million ($27.9 million) to a battery development consortium of 18 industrial and researchpartners, including chemical giant BASF, Volkswagen, the FraunhoferInstitute and the University of Berlin.
In May 2010 the German government announced a 12 million euros ($15.9 million) award for EV battery research. The award went to a lithium-ion project led by Volkswagen in a joint venture with Varta Microbattery.
In addition to the money invested in research, the German government isbeing asked to provide direct incentives to electric car buyers andsupport a broad network of recharging stations.
Germany’s proudtradition of automotive excellence has helped it to become one of theworld’s largest vehicle manufacturing countries. Ten percent of allvehicles produced worldwide come off German production lines. Forseveral decades the automobile industry has been a key sector in theGerman economy and the most active and largest Industry in the EuropeanUnion.
Today Germany is also a renewable energy leader. Withtheir new focus on EVs Germany will continue to be a global power, evenif the internal combustion engine ceases to drive the economy.
Richard Matthews is a consultant, sustainable investor, writer and owner of The Green Market Oracle, a leading sustainable business blog that covers the convergence of sustainable capitalism and the global environment.The Green Market is one of the most comprehensive resources for information and tools on sustainability. Follow The Green Market's twitter feed and see the Facebook Fan Page. Richard is a contributor to more than 50 publications. Find him on Facebook and Linkedin.
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