Remote traffic light partner: critique of Wissing’s electric car plans

Status: 09.05.2022 21:16

Transport Minister Wissing’s proposal to extend the premium for the purchase of electric cars has drawn criticism. Not only the Green-led Economy Ministry and the SPD have distanced themselves.

The plans of Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing of the FDP for an extension and an increase in the purchase bonuses for electric cars are criticized by the traffic light coalition as well as by environmental groups. After the plans became known, the Federal Ministry of Economics, led by green politician Robert Habeck, pointed out that the immediate climate protection program with individual measures from all departments as well as expert assessment effects of the climate protection were at present still coordinated between the Ministries. “Therefore, there are no final proposals yet.” One thing is clear: “We have some catching up to do in all areas to achieve our climate protection goals.”

The third coalition partner, the SPD, is distancing itself further. Deputy Chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Detlef Müller, criticized Wissing’s proposals as “half-baked”. Instead, Müller called for more investment in rail. Wissing’s proposals were “neither covered by the coalition agreement, nor were there any discussions about the possibility of deviating from the agreements reached so far”, he said. at the “Spiegel”.

Criticism of the “FDP Customer Policy”

Several environmental organizations opposed Wissing’s initiative. BUND chairman Olaf Bandt called the German editorial network’s plans an “FDP clientele policy”. Instead of favoring the purchase of cars, it would be better “to invest in new mobility with fewer cars”, he explained. Greenpeace traffic expert Tobias Austrup also described the plans as “a hugely expensive giveaway for the auto industry”. For climate protection, on the other hand, they would bring “almost nothing”.

The Federal Director of German Environmental Aid (DUH), Jürgen Resch, called the plans “absurd”. The project would only save about four million tonnes of CO2 per year. A speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour on the motorway, on the other hand, could save 9.2 million tonnes of CO2.

Plans for a new scrappage program

The “Handelsblatt” had previously reported that Wissing had the draft of an immediate climate protection program evaluated by several research institutes in a report. It plans to extend the purchase premium for purely battery-electric vehicles or fuel cell cars until 2027.

According to the plans, anyone who buys a car with a maximum purchase price of 40,000 euros should receive a subsidy of 10,800 euros instead of the previous 6,000 euros. Added to this is the manufacturers’ subsidy of 3,000 euros, which they should also continue to grant until 2027. For more expensive vehicles up to 60,000 euros, the ministry provides a bonus of 8,400 euros instead of the 5,000 euros previously promised.

From the second half of 2023, buyers would have to scrap a combustion engine car that is at least eleven years old to receive the full subsidy. According to the “Handelsblatt”, the value of the scrapping bonus could be around 1,500 euros. Both premiums are expected to decrease from 2025 and, according to the report, cost “up to 73 billion euros”.

Wissing and the ministry react

Wissing himself announced in the evening on Twitter that he did not want a “scrap bonus” or a higher purchase bonus for electric cars. “The shift to climate-neutral mobility must succeed through market-based incentives,” the minister wrote. “I don’t want a scrapping bonus either, nor a higher purchase bonus for electric vehicles.”

The Department for Transport stressed that the proposals are “possible options for how climate protection can be pursued while avoiding bans and increases in taxes and duties”. None of these measures have “as yet been decided, nor is it clear whether the federal government will adopt them”. The ministry did not comment on the details of the proposals reported by the “Handelsblatt”.

Continue to promote plug-in hybrids?

Unlike Federal Economics Minister Habeck, Wissing wants to continue promoting the purchase of plug-in hybrids until 2024 and not end it this year. He wants to halve the subsidy, to 2250 or 1875 euros – depending on the purchase price. According to the coalition agreement, all purchase subsidies should actually expire in 2025. It is also agreed in the coalition agreement that the subsidy should continuously decrease until then.

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