Germany offers incentives to buyers of electric cars

From this weekend, buyers of fully electric cars in Germany will receive a purchase premium of 4,000 euros, with the carmakers and the government footing the bill equally (AFP Photo/John Macdougall)

Berlin (AFP) - The German economy ministry said a special incentive to persuade consumers to buy electric cars will finally come into effect on Saturday.

"The purchase premium for electric cars begins on July 2," said Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Friday.

"It's an important political signal for the industry."

From this weekend, buyers of fully electric cars will receive a purchase premium of 4,000 euros ($4,444), with the carmakers and the government footing the bill equally.

And buyers of rechargeable hybrids will receive a premium of 3,000 euros.

The incentive scheme, which is being backdated to May 18, will run until the total 600 million euros set aside for the purpose has all been used up, or until 2019 at the latest.

"With this buyer's premium, we are creating an incentive for electric vehicles to play a bigger role in our daily lives," Gabriel said.

The government's official aim is to have one million electric vehicles on the roads by 2020.

But that goal is regarded as unrealistic given the high price of the cars and the still limited infrastructure for such vehicles.

At the end of 2015, just 50,000 electric vehicles were registered in Germany compared with a total 45 million on the roads altogether.

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