If that sounds like a misleading advert, it isn't! It's actually happening...
The increase in state subsidies to buy electric vehicles in some European countries has reached the point that in Germany you can go to a dealer, sign a two-year lease contract and drive away in an electric Renault Zoe (pictured) for free, with the cost of the deposit and the €125 monthly payment covered by the subsidy, which was recently doubled. You will have to insure it separately, and pay a little more if you want to keep it after two years, but yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, and there’s no catch, in Germany misleading advertising is subject to heavy fines: it’s an electric car, for free.
Unsurprisingly, the company that has launched the offer, König, has been avalanched with thousands of requests for information and with more than three hundred contracts already signed (due to lack of personnel), says it cannot meet demand in the short-term. Other electric models, such as the Mini Cooper SE, are being offered by some distributors for about €26 a month, with a BMW i3 going for €115. The tiny Smart EQ at another German dealer costs €9.90 per month, reports Forbes.
Other European countries have also increased subsidies for electric cars: in Croatia, €11,800; in Romania, €11,100; in Germany and Poland, €9,900; in France, €7,700. What is Spain doing in the meantime? Continuing to subsidize diesel and petrol vehicles, making it a dumping ground for cars other countries can’t sell. At this rate, when a vehicle’s emission levels are too high, they will all be sent to Spain.
For car makers, putting electric vehicles on the road is essential to anticipate the change in emission standards next year, when the EU will place a limit 96 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer in new vehicles, or impose heavy fines. In the Netherlands, where Amsterdam has banned the circulation of non-electric cars from 2030, the €10 million fund set up to finance the purchase of electric vehicles ran out in just eight days.
Although it’s not happening as quickly as it should, the decarbonization of transportation is advancing, and diesel and petrol vehicles will soon be museum pieces, seen by most people as retrograde, which is only right, given that they are essentially mobile air poisoners. In a very few years, from about the middle of this decade, electric vehicles will be significantly cheaper to buy and run than fossil fuel vehicles (in many cases, if we take into account the cost of electricity versus diesel or gasoline and maintenance costs, they already are). From there, of course, the market will take off, even without government subsidies.
If you doubted the future of the automotive market, wake up and smell the fresh air.
Germany's Going Electric: Germany has announced that it will oblige all petrol stations to offer electric car charging to help remove refuelling concerns and boost consumer demand for the vehicles as part of its €130 billion ($146 billion) economic recovery plan, reports Reuters.
Million Mile Battery: Electric vehicle makers hope to roll out super long-lasting batteries. That raises interesting questions about resources, performance - and a battery's second (and even third) act.