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Germany extends EV cash incentives to 2020 with extra Eur600 million

London — Germany has extended to end-2020 its fixed cash incentive of Eur4000 ($4,460) for anyone buying a new electric vehicle as the country strives to hit a million EVs on the road, the economy and energy ministry said Friday.

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Uptake of the scheme launched a year ago has been slower than expected, but applications have increased steadily, the ministry said.

"The number of applications is steadily increasing -- slower than we had hoped, but it is all the more important to ensure continuity of support," energy and economy minister Peter Altmaier said.

Germany has currently some 100,000 pure EVs registered, with monthly sales figures showing sharp on year gains.

It also has close to 400,000 hybrids that benefit from a Eur3,000 incentive.

The cash incentives are funded jointly by industry and government with Eur600 million ($670 million) available, it said.

Germany, Europe's biggest auto market, continues to catch up with early EV adopter Norway.

Both markets saw 23,000 EV units sold in Q1 2019, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics' monthly EV Essentials report.

EV sales remain a niche market in Germany, but come against a background of sliding diesel sales, the analysts said.

Germany's energy industry is preparing itself for the mass roll-out of EVs with up to 10 million EVs projected for 2030, utility group BDEW said.

BDEW chief Stefan Kapferer said 7-10 million EVs would be needed by 2030 to achieve the transport sector's climate targets.

Research into power demand of electric cars varies widely, but according to some experts, one million EV may add 2-3 TWh/year to demand for electricity.

Meanwhile, EV charging point numbers are soaring with some 17,400 registered, the BDEW said in its latest survey.

Many are currently underutilized due to sluggish EV sales, it said. Utilities operate three out of four public charging points with various support schemes in place.

Government, auto industry and the utility sector agree that the charging infrastructure is key for the mass roll-out of EVs.

-- Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

-- Edited by James Leech, newsdesk@spglobal.com