Germany may miss electric-cars goal without funding

BERLIN Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:16pm EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's goal of 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020 may only be achieved if state funding of fossil fuel-free mobility is raised substantially.

No more than 600,000 electric cars will be on the move across Europe's biggest economy by the end of the decade without extra spending, according to a report published on Wednesday by a panel of experts from car makers, science, politics and unions.

The government has pledged federal research spending on electric autos and is planning other steps such as granting 10 years exemption from vehicle tax to owners who buy their fossil fuel-free cars before December 31, 2015, Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Roesler dampened expectations for further government aid, noting that companies, not the government, are responsible for building cars and recharging infrastructure.

"It would make no sense to enter this market with subsidies," Roesler said.

Obstacles preventing electric vehicles from becoming more popular include high battery costs, limited range and infrastructure.

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest auto maker plans to launch an electric version of its Up! subcompact in 2013, the same year as luxury market leader BMW plans to introduce the electric-powered i3.

(Reporting By Andreas Cremer, editing by William Hardy)

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