Berlin doubles subsidies for electric cars
The German government said on Monday it would double subsidies to help the auto industry develop electric cars to two billion euros ($2.8 billion) .
"The government believes there is a great need to act in matters of research and development. It will therefore make available an extra billion euros before the end of the current legislature," a government said in a statement.
"This represents the doubling of commitments made to date," the statement issued jointly by the ministries for the economy, the environment, education, and transportation said.
The next general elections are due in the autumn of 2013.
The ministers for the economy and for finance rejected however the idea of subsidizing the cost of buying electric cars which remain far more expensive than conventional cars.
The government was handed a report on Monday by the the National Electro-mobility Platform, a government-sponsored commission of industry experts, which is expected to be discussed in cabinet on Wednesday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she wants to see a million electric cars on the country's road by 2020, compared to just 2,300 today.
The German press expects the government to grant tax relief to the owners of electric cars, along with non-monetary measures which might allow such vehicles to use fast lanes and be given priority parking.
Developing this new technology is seen as crucial to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependency on foreign oil imports. It is also meant to help the German automobile industry compete with foreign manufacturers.
© 2011 AFP