MUNICH, Germany, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Germany plans a massive push to expand its network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced at Munich’s IAA mobility show on Tuesday.
Scholz said that the coming weeks will see Germany become “the first country in Europe to introduce a law requiring operators of 80% of all service stations to provide fast-charging options with at least 150 kilowatts for e-cars”.
The expansion will make range anxiety a thing of the past for EV drivers, he added.
Sporting an eye patch after a jogging accident at the weekend, Scholz did not give a time frame for the initiative.
Europe’s biggest economy has only 90,000 public charging points at present but aims to have 1 million by 2030 in an effort to boost EV take-up as it targets carbon neutrality by 2045.
Germany had about 1.2 million fully electric vehicles on its roads by the end of April, a long way short of the 15 million it is targeting by 2030, data from the KBA federal motor authority shows.
High prices, limited range and a lack of charging stations, especially in rural areas, have been cited as the main reasons for the lag in EV sales.
As Scholz toured the show, Greenpeace activists surrounded vehicles on display with two standing on top of them holding signs saying “the party is over”.
On competition from China in EV production, Scholz said: “Competition should spur us on, not scare us.
“In the 1980s, it was said Japanese cars would overrun the market. Twenty years later it was cars ‘made in Korea’ and now supposedly Chinese electric cars,” he said, playing down such fears and maintaining that the competitiveness of German carmakers is “beyond doubt”.
Chinese EV makers including BYD, Nio, Xpeng (9868.HK) and Leapmotor (9863.HK) are all targeting the European market, where EV sales soared by nearly 55% to about 820,000 vehicles in the first seven months of 2023 to account for about 13% of all car sales.
While Western carmakers fret over intense competition from Chinese rivals, major German auto suppliers told Reuters at the mobility show that they were eager to expand existing partnerships in China and provide those rising manufacturers with European-made parts.
Reporting by Victoria Waldersee and Andreas Rinke
Writing by Friederike Heine and Sarah Marsh
Editing by Miranda Murray and David Goodman
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