Merkel Warns of Hard Road Ahead for Electric Cars Target

Car makers have vowed to launch 15 models of electric cars while German industry as a whole is due to invest up to $21.9 billion into the sector by 2014.

Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged on Monday that Germany would struggle to reach its target of one million electric cars on its roads by 2020 but insisted the goal should not be dropped.

"The objective of one million electric cars on the roads in 2020 will not be very easy to attain," Merkel told a news conference with representatives who oversee Germany's electric mobility strategy.

However the chancellor added: "We agree on the fact that it would be a mistake to abandon this objective now because we still have eight years of work."

She said the issue of electric mobility was "complex," requiring cooperation between car manufacturers, producers of batteries, subcontractors and other members of the sector.

Germany set a target in 2008 of having one million electric cars on its roads in 2020 and said it wanted to be a pilot market in the field.

Under the plan, it has given itself until 2014 to prepare the market, with mass production of electric cars due to kick in from 2017.

But in June, Henning Kagermann, the country's coordinator on electric transport policy, warned that without additional incentives, only around half the target figure would be possible.

Car makers have vowed to launch 15 models of electric cars while German industry as a whole is due to plough up to 17 billion euros (US$21.9 billion) into the sector by 2014, according to figures by the German automobile industry federation.

The government offers tax incentives to electric car drivers but campaigners say much more needs to be done to encourage people to switch from petrol or diesel to electric vehicles.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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