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ENVIRONMENT

Germany to ‘fall short’ of electric car target

Germany hopes to put one million electric cars on the roads by 2020, but just 3,000 have been sold this year. A study released on Tuesday casts doubt on sales projections.

Germany to 'fall short' of electric car target
Photo: DPA

Electric cars have been among the highlights of the IAA motorshow in Frankfurt which opened last week. New models include the BMW’s i3.

But despite the technology being around for a while, electric car sales are yet to take off in Germany, the Süddeutsche newspaper reported on Tuesday.

With 3,000 models sold this year, the country is less than 0.2 percent of the way to achieving its target of one million vehicle sales by 2020.

And a study by research institute ISI which will be presented at the IAA on Tuesday believes the success of electric cars is hugely dependent on energy prices.

CLICK HERE for photos from the IAA motor show

Researchers argue that the best scenario for electric cars is for the price of batteries and energy to decrease, while diesel and petrol gets more expensive.

But if energy prices and battery costs do not fall the study believes Germany will be a long way short of its target, with consumers buying no more than 200,000 electric cars, author Martin Wietschel said.

Sceptics view electric cars as being far too expensive and of limited use as they have less range than a conventional car – having to be recharged at special points.

Henning Kagermann, head of a government department which looks at electric vehicles within the Ministry of the Environment, told the Süddeutsche newspaper that carmakers may need help from the state to realize the electric car dream, even though the German car industry is making multi-billion euro profits.

READ MORE: Carmakers show off latest models at IAA

The Local/tsb

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ENVIRONMENT

Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction

Campaigners began a legal challenge against five German regions on Monday to force them to take stronger action on climate change, emboldened by a landmark recent court ruling in favour of environmental protection.

Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction
Demonstrators from the Fridays for Future movement protest in Gießen, Hesse, with a sign saying "No wishy-washy, no climate lashing". Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The plaintiffs are basing their case on a sensational verdict by Germany’s constitutional court in April which found that Germany’s plans to curb CO2 emissions were insufficient to meet the targets of the Paris climate agreement and placed an unfair burden on future generations.

In a major win for activists, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government then brought forward its date for carbon neutrality by five years to 2045, and raised its 2030 target for greenhouse gas reductions.

READ ALSO: 

On Monday, 16 children and young adults began proceedings against the regions of Hesse, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saarland, with support of environmental NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH).

They are charging that none of the states targeted by the legal action have passed sufficiently strong climate legislation at the local level, according to DUH.

“The federal government can’t succeed on its own,” lead lawyer Remo Klinger said in a press conference, highlighting state competence in the area of transport.

DUH worked closely together with the youth climate movement Fridays For Future to find activists willing to front the challenges, the group said.

Seventeen-year-old plaintiff Alena Hochstadt said the western state of Hesse, known for its Frankfurt banking hub, had always been her home but she feared having “no future here”.

Concern about the risk of “floods, storms and droughts” led her and other campaigners to seek “a legal basis for binding climate protection”.

READ ALSO: Climate change made German floods ‘more likely and more intense’

Hesse’s ministers for climate and the economy said they were “surprised” by the announcement.

“DUH clearly has not yet understood that we in Hesse are well ahead,” Priska Hinz and Tarek Al-Wazir said in a joint statement, drawing attention to an energy future law from 2012, before the Paris climate agreement.

In July, DUH-supported activists took the states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg to court on similar grounds.

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