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German Press Calls Electric Cars an "E-llusion"

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On: Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 11:24AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

German Press Calls Electric Cars an

German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to hold a meeting to discuss, with senior advisors from the major German automakers and utility companies, the future possibility of the electrification of the automobile. He has given the subject top priority, particularly after missing the boat on the recent popularity of Japanese car technology, such as the popular Prius.

But according to the widely circulated German periodical called “Der Spiegel,” the electric vehicle is a “great e-llusion.”

The magazine’s writers suggest that the attention given to “cars with power sockets rather than gas tanks” is more about publicity than about a long term solution for greener automotive technology.

The German automakers seem to be on board for the upcoming discussion, and BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer (who plans to arrive to the meeting in a Mini E), Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, and Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen's CEO, will reportedly all attend.

The CEOs are asking for huge subsidies in order to do research and development and to apply to buying incentives for consumers. They are also asking about some type of standard practice for creating battery charging stations.

Der Spiegel’s list of EV drawbacks are nothing new to the automotive world and they include: That there is not a big enough market for electric vehicles, that the benefits to the environment are insignificant, and that the total mileage of driving range is not feasible.

Many of the auto executives who are seeking subsidies also express reservations about the electric car movement. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn states that the prices are inflated and the driving range is not long enough; he also feels the electric vehicles take too long to charge. “It's important to tell people the plain truth," said Winterkorn.

Along with the pessimism that Der Spiegel expressed about electric cars the magazine reluctantly agreed that battery-powered vehicles will become one of the options for future green cars. “There will not be a single type of engine to ensure individual mobility in a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly way. Instead, cars will still be powered by classic internal combustion engines, as well as by hybrid engines, natural gas, bio-fuels, and one day perhaps, even with hydrogen. And, of course, with electricity.”


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