Sunday, June 25, 2017

Germany and Electrical Cars

SWR (the public network from Baden-Wurttemberg) had a piece to cover the Green Party and the criticism being dumped upon the chief Green 'boss' from the region.  The B-W Prime Minister (Kretschmann) has been criticized over comments about the Green policy of stopping all new gas/diesel-powered cars in 2030 (the current German government law).

What you find is that more than a few Germans really don't think or care much about the law.....with a very limited number who think that the country will arrive in 2030 and reach this mythical stage of no gas or diesel 'new-car' sales. The curious thing is that no other European country has gone in this direction, and a fair number of what Opel, VW, Mercedes, Porsche and BMW produce.....go beyond German borders.  They will continue to manufacture gas/diesel powered cars (much to the shock of the Green Party members, I think).

The piece by SWR talks to comments by Anton of the top five Greens in Germany.  His vision of this 2030 period is that each 'parking lot' instead of standard gas stations....would turn into a charging station.

One has to sit and ponder upon these concepts.  First, you look at apartment buildings around Germany and the idea of charging stations being installed and the cost of each station within an apartment building.  If you had a 100-apartment are likely talking about 150 parking spots in the basement garage, and 150 of them having some kind of port-installation of chargers.  Cost?  Home Advisor did a study and put the rough average between $373 and $892....with the very high end upwards to $1,500.  If you did the rough average of $1,000 and 150 stations required.....then the building cost would be near $150,000.  Who would pay?  It'd be assigned to each resident and come out with some rental increase.  The odds that for the next 25 years that half of the residents would still have gas cars and NOT ever use the charging port? might speculate at this point and take an educated guess that at least one-third of the building residents might fall into that category.

Another issue?  Charging stations at work.  Some German government entities would get grants and hook up 100 chargers in their 300 parking spot lot.  Another race would be on each day as people drove in and attempted to get into position to charge their cars.  Taking the attitude of making all of the 300 parking spots chargeable?  Maybe, but then you'd start to look at government (federal, state, and city) across Germany, and each parking lot requiring a massive infrastructure change....going into the billions over a decade.

The black-out scenario?  Last year, I was reading a Brit blog piece and the clever guy got around to the scenario of a highly populated electric car situation....and the grid of some region or a country being taken down for two or three days (storm front or terrorism).  You could wake up to realize a large portion of society was unable to reach work.

In some ways, you can sense that a Green 'divide' is occurring and there are some Greens (not a lot) that live in some world where this electric-car utopia isn't that readily apparent.  I might be able to agree that Hybrid (combination of gas and electric) is likely to be a major part of the future.  But to suggest to me that a quarter of the cars in my village by 2030 will be electric-only?  No.....I don't buy into that idea.

I noted that as 2016 closed out....there are approximately 75,000 electrical cars registered in Germany (not hybrid but pure battery-power).

Norway leads Europe presently with the vehicle number....with a 2016 number of 135,000 vehicles. The chief reason for the surge there?  No sales taxes on the electric vehicles.  All parking fees waived on electric vehicles.  Toll payments?  Waived.  I should add....these weren't permanent incentives....but having a time limit attached.  If you look at their commentary....there was a big burst of activity to a degree, but these nice incentives will end, and then normal purchases will likely go and lag until another incentive is put into place.

About a decade ago....Iceland talked of having most all new cars being electric.  Today?  For 2016, roughly 5-percent of all cars sold 'new' were hybrid or electric-only.  It's a good trend, but part of their plus-side is a very low electrical cost rate (compared to the rest of Europe).

So you turn and look at the Berlin crowd of Green Party members (the leadership), and you kinda wonder if they've been out into the rest of the country and looked at the general problems and limits of this whole electric car business.  Maybe if they offered no sales tax, and brought the electrical grid cost down a notch.....they might get people charged up a bit, but at the present's hard to see this 2030 plan working well in the end.

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