The statistics paint a clear picture: Just over 45,000 vehicles with so-called alternative drives were registered last year in Germany. The German Register of Motor Vehicles reported significant growth of over 45 percent for electric drives, and an increase of over 22 percent for hybrid vehicles. However, given the overall situation, these figures are somewhat disappointing. Alternative drives account for just 1.7 percent of the over 3.2 million new registrations overall.
We are still miles away from the one million electric cars politicians expect to see on German roads by 2020 – by roughly 850,000 units. However, experts say that, in the long term, an alternative to petrol and diesel engines must be found. Besides the dwindling raw materials, increasing noise and rising air pollution require a new approach.
History repeats itself
However not just when it comes to the users, the entire approach to the subject has a precedent. Dr. Guido Weißmann from the Bavarian Society for Innovation and Knowledge Transfer compares the development to the introduction of the CD: "When CDs were launched, they were far more expensive than music cassettes, there were hardly any players and by contrast to cassettes, CDs were not rewritable." At the time, many said they would never find a market. "In the end, CDs became a success for reasons nobody had thought of before, such as new functions like constant quality or quick track changes," says Weißmann.
Electric vehicles are similar. For 100 years, the infrastructure has been designed for cars with combustion engines, which is why it is not enough to sell electric cars. "We need to transform the entire ecosystem," says Weißmann. This ranges from raw materials and technology and services, right up to the environment.