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Monday, May 16, 2011

Germany Doubles Electric Vehicle Research and Development Aid

The German government announced an additional 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in research and development aid for electric vehicles, doubling its budget by 2013 in a bid to position itself at the technology’s vanguard.

Tax rebates, dedicated parking spots and measures aimed at promoting government use of electric cars are among the other incentives to be adopted as Germany strives to meet a target of 1 million such vehicles on the streets by 2020, Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin today.

“We’re going to see these vehicles come in very quickly,” though “the really broad market debut will still take a couple of years,” Merkel said. “I’m certain that German producers will be in the fray at the right time.”

Germany is banking on electric vehicles as it seeks to ensure the future dominance of carmakers including Volkswagen AG (VOW), Daimler AG (DAI) and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. (BMW) Merkel’s Cabinet will back a progress report on measures to speed the development of electric cars when it meets in Berlin tomorrow, she said.

Merkel, in a weekly podcast posted on her website two days ago, said that the construction of batteries and the necessary infrastructure to enable them to be charged were the two biggest challenges to the development of electric vehicles.

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