German economy minister delivers warning on electric cars

The German minister for the economy, Peter Altmaier, says he doesn’t understand why the country’s automotive industry hasn’t sufficiently invested in electric vehicles, and advised companies in the sector to do so or lose out.

In an interview with Bild newspaper, Altmaier said the industry must invest heavily in electric car technology and develop battery production facilities in Europe to keep up with global competitors. He estimated that carmakers needed to invest high “two-digit billion amounts” in electric car technology.

Investments were also needed in battery production, given expected demand for many millions of electric batteries that could help firms earn good money, he said.
Peter Altmaier
“Otherwise we’ll have to accept that a large part of the added value will be produced in Asia or the United States, instead of here with us,” he said.

The new German coalition government plans to ease the tax burden on drivers of electric vehicles, provide at least an additional 100,000 charge points across the country and subsidise car-sharing in order to more successfully achieve decarbonization of the transport sector.

There are also plans to provide funding for research into autonomous driving technology and support the establishment of battery cell production in Germany.

Altmaier said German carmakers needed to develop a model that had at least the range of a Tesla but costs less, and should work on developing an information technology platform for self-driving cars that was the best in the world.

“The first safe self-driving cars must operate with German technology,” he said.

German companies should also work with other European firms to develop a European battery cell production.à‚ 

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