Thursday, April 29, 2010

Germany�"s Der Spiegel: Electric Cars Are an �SE-llusion⬝

Merkel Plugging In

In Sept., 2008, German Chancellor Angela Merkel plugs in an electic-powered Smart car as Daimler head Deiter Zetsche and Matthias Wissmann, Chairman of the German Automobile Industry, look on.

On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a summit on the electrification of the automobile, with senior executives from the major German auto companies, as well as utilities and the high-tech sector. Germany doesn�"t want to be left out of a potential electric car revolution�especially after falling way behind the Japanese competition for hybrid gas-electric cars. German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer said that electric vehicle technology is "the most important project of this legislative period."

But, the widely circulated German weekly Der Spiegel is calling the re-emergence of electric cars a �Sgreat e-llusion.⬝ The magazine suggests that the attention given to �Scars with power sockets rather than gas tanks⬝ is more about publicity and political maneuvering than about a real shift to greener automotive technology.

By all appearances, the car companies are on board. BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer will travel to the meeting in a Mini E, an electric version of the Mini Cooper. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche will squeeze into an all-electric Smart ForTwo for his journey to the summit. The article didn�"t mention how Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen's CEO, will arrive. VW recently shifted its plans for its first electric car from the e-Up mini car to the e-Golf, an electric version of the Volkswagen Golf due in 2013.

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer, showing off the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, a two-door four-seat plug-in hybrid sports car.

The CEOs want massive subsidies first for research and development and then for consumer incentives. They are also calling for uniform standards for battery charging stations.

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