Schaufenster -- EV "Window Shopping" in Germany

Jorge Gadala-Maria reports on Germany's Schaufenster e-Mobility Project. Over three years, the initiative, which roughly translates to "window shopping e-mobility," will pump 180 million euros into Germany's electric vehicle industry.


Window shopping, usually not associated with electric cars and green energy, unless you're in Germany.

In April of this year, the German government announced their decision to put electric mobility on display. Four regions of the country were chosen to receive funds as part of the Schaufenster e-Mobility Project, which roughly translates to "Window Shopping e-Mobility." A hundred and eighty million euros will be invested into these regions in three-years time as part of the initiative of Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring one million electric vehicles to Germany by 2020. These vehicles range from plug-in hybrids to electric buses to electric motorbikes.

The German government's hopes: To showcase electric mobility to the German consumer. Last year all interested players, including research institutions, suppliers, and equipment manufacturers, made proposals for projects in the different regions. Proposals are currently going through a review process, and those who will receive the grant money should be notified by the end of the year.

According to Ruth Holling of Volkswagen, the projects range from battery research to public exhibitions. Volkswagen submitted proposals, but have yet to hear back. Until then they do not wish to disclose what their proposals included.

Some companies have turned the Schaufenster grant into a team project. Berlin-based car-sharing company Carzapp has teamed up with companies like Renault, Peugeot, and Vodafone to start an electric car-sharing initiative.

In the United States, efforts are also being made in the direction of e-mobility. Announced in March by President Barack Obama, the EV-Everywhere initiative focuses on enabling U.S. companies to be the first in the world to produce plug-in electric vehicles that are as convenient and affordable for the American consumer as gas-powered vehicles.

This initiative has already brought together leaders and thinkers from both the private and public sectors to discuss topics ranging from specific technologies for batteries and electric motors to getting a consumer to accept electric cars, lowering manufacturing costs, and developing a charging infrastructure.

Reporting for Planet Forward, I'm Jorge Gadala-Maria.

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