The traffic turnaround. Much is being written and talked about. It carries social explosives and if the federal government has its way, then it should finally pick up speed in 2020. So that the citizen can also develop pleasure in it, the purchase premium for an electric car climbs from 4.000 to 6.000 €. However, the subsidies are not helpful for everyone. Because they threaten innovative start-ups.
On November 5th it was that time again. A new car summit in the Berlin Chancellery, 4 hours with high-ranking representatives from industry and politics. The result: More subsidies for hybrids and purely electric vehicles. Government and industry are giving themselves a green coat of paint, environmental protection is a top priority, consumers should please buy now.
Now summit talks in the government headquarters are by no means so that Angela Merkel invites you to a chat with cookies, cakes and coffee. And that in the end there is a result nobody would have expected. Surprised are at most the citizens who learn the latest news on the tablet. Before, there were months of intense lobbying, and the industry knows exactly what it is doing.
What should be an incentive to buy as an additional bonus was priced in advance. Of the greats in the industry who entertain legions of lobbyists in Berlin and Brussels. For the benefit of consumers and for their own sales. To the detriment of start-ups and innovative lateral thinkers. They are not sitting at the coffee party in the chancellery. The 3.000 € own contribution of subsidies are to cope for Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW. For Sono Motors or ego probably less. That's a shame and that's wrong. After all, it is the newcomers who produce the vehicles that are needed if the traffic turnaround is to become something serious.
Both startups build or plan small, light cars. No big, heavy electric vehicles like the established industry. Less is more, rethink, conserve resources. Sono Motors and e.Go tick like this. Apparently not the big ones. Products come from Volkswagen that are just like a Golf. Just stop electrical and digital. Audi understands very little and sends heavyweights to the start, Daimler and the rest are no better. A clear “go on as before”, just with batteries instead of burners.
Rethinking? Does not take place.
Maybe because you don't want to ask the customer to do it. Because marketing and consulting firms believe that they do not want to overwhelm the consumer. A new type of drive could be enough of a burden. Then also smaller, lighter, more flexible? Too much! I think the consumer should have the chance and decide for himself. Small, light, innovative and flexible cars with courage don't come from Wolfsburg or Ingolstadt. If only because small is cheap and low-yield. Passé the times when you got a brave Audi A2 or VW an extreme 1 liter car brought to the streets.
Sono Motors and e.Go are in a price segment below € 20.000. The Sion, which will roll off the production line in Trollhättan, costs € 16.000 without a battery. It’s hard to make a contribution of € 3.000 as a purchase bonus. In the show Quer des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Sono founder Laurin Hahn has a say. The own share threatens the business model. The only option is to forego it altogether or to increase prices. And competitor e.Go? He has already drawn his conclusions. From January 2020 the prices for the e.Go Life will increase by € 2.000. The cheapest model costs € 17.900.
However, plague Sono Motors more worries at the moment. The financing is unclear until further notice, one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns in Germany is running. 50 million € are to be collected by the end of the month. But success is far from certain. This highlights an additional weakness in the system. While China has been flooding innovative start-ups with billions via various instruments for years, Germany remains strangely passive. There is no state risk fund for start-ups. Of course, 8 or 9 out of 10 startups won't survive the first few years. But can we afford to remain passive about massive Chinese subsidies?
“Open source project” from Munich
The compact Munich van is much more than just another electric car. It charges itself with solar cells and it is a kind of “open source project”. It should be accessible to external developers; the workshop manual is accessible to everyone. If implemented in this way, it could be a pioneer for innovation and sustainability. Saab once planned something similar. The IQon Project was referred to as Open Innovation and allowed independent developers to design new features for the vehicle.
The electric car premium is revealed to be a subsidy for the established industry. Who certainly builds very good cars, but lacks courage. If you are serious about protecting resources and the environment, then less has to be more! Courageous start-ups, lateral thinkers, should have a chance. It is already difficult enough for them to bring their products to market.
Innovative start-ups should be promoted in terms of the environment and innovation. Competition is good, the big players can draw their conclusions from it, and newcomers get a chance. The way to the finished product is very costly in the automotive industry. Germany should afford costs and lateral thinkers in order to maintain our industry. The demise of the once proud British auto industry, considered strong and invincible, should be a reminder. Because it too was protected by the state until there was nothing left to preserve.
Germany is prosperous. So rich that our government parks money somewhere between unused. Over the years in the so-called reserves for example. Around 42 billion € are suspected at the end of the year. Some of it could be taken. As seed money for competition and innovation. Then out of blatant confessions facts would. The location Germany can only benefit from it.