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TOPIC: e cars


Crossing Europe, Sans Gas? My Summer Vacation 'Stress Test' For Electric Cars

The author set off on a three-week vacation trip across Europe in an electric car. Would the charging infrastructure be enough to get all the way, or would they end up stranded without battery, far from home?

BERLIN — "Do we really want to do that?" my wife asked. "Nearly 3,000 kilometers across Europe, in an electric car? We've already failed over much shorter distances."

She was right about that. But it's 2023, and e-mobility has outgrown its niche. It is set to become the new reality — in fact, it already is. After all, we're driving through Europe, not the desert.

After a lot of persuasion, I finally managed to assuage her worries. But I also prepared myself for a fairly big adventure. After all, our three-week vacation tour this year took us not only through Germany, but also Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy.

On our last long electric trip just over a year ago, we got stuck in a charging station jam after only 160 kilometers. The charging park in Nempitz, Saxony-Anhalt, was overrun, and before we could get to the charging point we had to line up and wait for 45 minutes.

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Germany, Norway, California: How To Boost Electric Car Sales

A new study shows Germany must look for other ways to convince automobile buyers to switch to electric cars. Shall we say: quota?

BERLIN — If you get an electric car in Germany, you will be rewarded with a hefty cash injection: a 4,000-euro environmental bonus has been available for the past three years for every new e-car purchase. But the results of the incentive so far have been disappointing. Many charging stations in cities are still empty. At the beginning of 2019, only 83,200 electric cars were registered in Germany — and the number is growing slowly. Currently, only one out of every 100 new cars sold is powered by electricity. In Norway, a world leader in the energy transition, every third new car is electric.

Why are Germans not making headway in this area that's so important for the climate? Researchers have been looking for answers. In a study done by the Berlin-based Ecologic Institute on behalf of Greenpeace, scientists compare the effectiveness of ten measures that are already being used in different countries. Germany's funding practices do not get a good grade, with the report concluding that financial incentives are not enough in Germany. Instead, fixed quotas for manufacturers should be introduced to make real headway.

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