Electric vehicle discount scheme attracts 2 000 applicants in Germany

Germany’s new discount scheme to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles has been used by almost 2,000 people since its introduction on 1 July 2016.

A third of the buyers have purchased BMW models, a German government agency said on Thursday.

The scheme is similar to those established in other European countries to spur electric car sales. German applicants receive a €4,000 (£3,390) discount off electric car sales, while buyers of plug-in hybrid vehicles a discount of €3,000.

Prior to its introduction, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said: "With this, I believe we will be able to give a boost to quickly move the number of vehicles [sales] to a considerable level."

Since its introduction, 1,791 buyers of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles have applied for the discounts and 581 of them were buyers of BMW models - notably its i3 electric car - the BAFA economic affairs and export control agency said.

BMW has pioneered the production of such cars in Germany and offers more models than other carmakers.

Germany’s largest domestic carmaker Volkswagen has also announced plans to move away from the production of diesel vehicles and focus instead on electric vehicles in order to restore its corporate reputation, damaged by the emission cheating scandal.

Only 154 applications were received for discounts on Volkswagen models. There were also 444 applications from buyers of Renault models, BAFA said.

The total €1.2bn cost of the incentives is being shared equally between the German government and carmakers, with a goal of selling around 400,000 electric cars in Europe's biggest car market.

Out of the 45 million cars on German roads, only about 50,000 are purely battery-powered vehicles or plug-in hybrids.

The incentive scheme expires at the end of June 2019. BAFA said 1,194 requests for the discounts on electric cars and 597 requests for plug-in hybrid discounts have been submitted, adding that a third of all requests were filed on behalf of companies.

The UK government made £30m available to bus operators and local authorities last month in order to boost the take up of cleaner, greener vehicles, including electric, hybrid, hydrogen and biomethane buses.

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