Electric mobility as a building block of sustainable mobility
The term electric mobility (also known as eMobility) stands for forms of movement using electric motors. Cars, buses, commercial vehicles, trains, bicycles and motorcycles, ships and smaller aircraft – all can be powered by electric energy.
An electrically powered vehicle within the meaning of the Electric Mobility Act is an all-battery electric vehicle, an externally chargeable hybrid electric vehicle or a fuel cell powered vehicle.
Electric mobility is a key technology for developing a clean and efficient transport system. Fossil energy sources such as petroleum or natural gas used by our road vehicles have for years been producing CO2 emissions that are too high and that are increasingly contributing to climate change. The electricity required by electric vehicles is provided either by heavy-duty batteries or by a fuel cell. In a fuel cell, the chemical energy of hydrogen is directly converted into electricity. Electric vehicles are recharged at charging stations or are refuelled with gaseous hydrogen at filling stations. They are quiet and, at the point of use, produce zero emissions that are harmful to the climate and human health. Electric vehicles powered by electricity from renewable sources are therefore a good alternative to vehicles with internal combustion engines.
The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure supports applied research and development in the electric mobility sector, the procurement of electric vehicles and the deployment of charging infrastructure (electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen refuelling points) in Germany on a technology-neutral and cross-modal basis.
The Federal Ministry of Transport provides financial assistance for plug-in hybrids, battery drivetrains and fuel cells:
- in road passenger and freight transport (e.g. for passenger cars, electric buses, commercial and delivery vehicles);
- battery and fuel cell drivetrains in rail transport (diesel hybrid traction);
- battery and fuel cell drivetrains in aviation (for instance fuel cells for on-board energy supply);
- battery and fuel cell drivetrains in shipping (fuel cells for electricity supply).
A hybrid drivetrain combines two different drivetrain systems: the vehicle has an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Depending on the design, the engine and the motor can power the vehicle together or independently of each other. A parallel hybrid is powered by both the internal combustion engine and the electric motor. In the case of a serial drivetrain system, on the other hand, the engine merely drives a generator, which acts as an electricity supplier and feeds the electric motor's battery. The vehicle is thus powered by electricity only. Plug-in hybrids can be recharged at a simple domestic socket or at a charging station.
Electric Mobility Act
With the Electric Mobility Act prepared under the lead responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, which entered into force on 12 June 2015, we pursue the objective of being able to grant special privileges to electrically powered vehicles in road traffic. This includes, for example, allocating specific parking spaces to them at charging points in the public realm, reducing or abolishing parking charges and exempting these vehicles from certain access restrictions. To allow for easier verification, the vehicles are marked specifically with the so-called E registration mark.
Publication of first report on the Electric Mobility Act
Section 7 of the Electric Mobility Act states that every three years a joint progress report shall be presented by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, with the first report due in July 2018. The report is an external evaluation which reflects the current status of discussions, particularly at local authority level and among experts. The recommendations contained in the report do not constitute a predetermination with regard to a possible need for adaptations. The recommendations are a vital contribution to further discussions on the promotion of electric mobility.
Today, the Electric Mobility Act is an important component of the Federal Government’s promotion of the market ramp-up of electrically powered vehicles. More than 100 towns and cities currently make use of the statutory options allowing them to grant privileges to such vehicles. The report shows that the implementation of the Electric Mobility Act has a positive impact on the number of new registrations and existing stock of electric vehicles.
Electric Mobility Act (Elektromobilitätsgesetz) - 2018 report (German only)