Innovation bonus, environmental bonus: the long wait for electric cars
That could be tight: Many Volkswagen customers who want to order the ID.3 electric car these days are given the prospect of “calendar week 49” or even later as the delivery date from their dealers. The reason for the long delivery times is a combination of high demand and supply difficulties, especially for semiconductors.
It is not only at VW that e-cars cannot be delivered in the desired quantities. Audi, BMW, Opel, Hyundai, Peugeot and Skoda also make customers wait several months for certain models, even if some dealers have cars available at short notice. Models like the Octavia iV as a plug-in hybrid from Skoda are only available after well over a year. The situation is different at Tesla: While the Model S and X series are only available to customers after around twelve months, the Model Y can be delivered at short notice.
An overly long delivery time is usually just annoying when buying a car with a combustion engine. If an e-car is to be purchased, the waiting time can be expensive. This is due to a possible time limit for the lush government fundingthat has been granted so far. For a fully electric vehicle with a net list price of up to 40,000 euros, the premium is currently at least 9,000 euros. Two thirds of this comes from the state if the manufacturer puts the remaining third on the table. For plug-in hybrids, there are up to 6,750 euros.
The old black-red federal government decided in 2019 to environmental bonus to be extended and significantly increased until the end of 2025. Because of the corona pandemic, Schwarz-Rot had also decided in summer 2020 to temporarily double the state share for the promotion of electric vehicles in the form of an innovation bonus.
The traffic light coalition of the SPD, Greens and FDP only want to continue the subsidy scheme of the previous government until the end of 2022. What comes after that is uncertain. For some vehicle types, the subsidy could be significantly reduced or completely eliminated. In particular, the purchase of plug-in hybrids will no longer be so extensively funded in the foreseeable future.
Plug-in hybrids have an electric motor and a combustion engine, but unlike simple hybrids, they can also be charged at a charging station. However, this vehicle class has a bad reputation among environmentalists because many buyers collect the electric bonus, but rarely or never drive electrically without CO2 emissions in everyday life.
After 2022, the traffic light coalition only wants to promote electric vehicles that have a proven climate protection effect. The benchmark for plug-in hybrids should be a minimum electric range and the proportion of the car that is driven purely electrically.
The statement in the coalition agreement does not mean a complete rejection of state funding. The end of innovation premium for electric cars is therefore only planned for the end of 2025. It is not yet clear what will become of the original environmental bonus. But the words “degressive reform” are not a rosy prospect for potential buyers, including those who want to buy a pure electric vehicle.
It is therefore important for them not only to place orders this year. For the application for funding to the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA), the car must also be delivered and approved. And since the year only has 52 weeks, it could get tight with a delivery date in “calendar week 49” or later.
The ADAC calls for the application modalities for the innovation and environmental premium to be changed in view of the long delivery times. “Anyone who decides to switch to electromobility this year should be able to be sure that they will also receive the state subsidy of up to 6,000 euros promised for this year,” said ADAC Transport President Gerhard Hillebrand.
The club is committed to providing the option of reserving the subsidy amount when a purchase or leasing contract is concluded. “This promise should be valid for at least 12 months.” The payment should continue to be made only when the vehicle is registered.” This is the only way to avoid uncertainty among those interested in electric cars and to create the necessary trust.”
The strong demand exacerbates the situation. At the beginning of the Corona crisis, the major car manufacturers assumed a slump in sales and canceled large chip orders from semiconductor producers. When the car market picked up surprisingly quickly, the capacities that had become free had long since been allocated to other sectors. Since then, the shortage of semiconductors has repeatedly brought the production lines in car factories to a standstill. Experts do not expect a turnaround until 2023.
In the house of Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens), details of future funding are being worked on. The surprising halt to state subsidies for energy-efficient buildings has shown that the Vice Chancellor is also making unpopular cuts.
Peter Fuss from the management consultancy EY believes that the coalition will not prematurely pull the subsidy plug: “I assume that the federal government will continue to support the purchase of an electric car beyond 2025.” Without these subsidies, it would not be financially feasible for many people to buy an electric car.
In order to achieve the goals of the announced “Green Deal”, it is not just about car sales, said Fuß. “In principle, industry is able to deliver and is in the fast lane. Only politicians are still in the slow lane when it comes to the necessary expansion of the charging infrastructure.” Electromobility cannot be promoted solely through vehicle subsidies. The expansion of the charging infrastructure must also be significantly accelerated. (dpa/rs)