Electric Car Bonus: Small-scale manufacturer e.Go sees existence threat – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Sunday, 10.11.2019
14:44 clock

The electric car manufacturer e.Go sees in the new electric car purchase premium a threat to small manufacturers. "This regulation can endanger our existence," said company founder Günther Schuh, who also developed the electric delivery truck Streetscooter, the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger".


The German government and the automotive industry had agreed at the car summit in early November that the purchase price for e-vehicles should be significantly increased:

  For purely electric cars below a list price of 40,000 euros, the subsidy will rise from 4,000 euros to 6,000 euros. Above a purchase price of 40,000 euros, the subsidy for pure e-cars will in future be 5000 euros.
Plug-in hybrids will be subsidized instead of 3000 in the future with 4500 euros. Above the 40,000 euro mark, it is then 4000 euros.
  Half of the premium pays the state, the other part of the manufacturer. And that's where the problem lies for e-Go-Chef Schuh. Its extremely low-cost and low-cost electric car offers no margin margin to handle start-up funding. "In order to be able to pay the own contribution, we would have to beat it on the price of our cars," says shoe on request of the SPIEGEL. "e.Go can not cross-finance the money with the sale of burning cars, like the big manufacturers do," says Schuh. Specifically, this means that e-Go would have to pass on the premium share of 3000 euros to the customers. The 15,900-euro base model e.Go Life would be about 20 percent more expensive. "Small series manufacturers and start-ups have a disadvantage at the premium," says Schuh.

  That could affect other manufacturers. The Munich-based start-up Sono Motors, for example, wants to offer the Sion an e-car from 2020, which will partially charge itself via solar cells. "Young companies like Sono Motors have no impact on the e-car premium and were simply ignored in the design," says Laurin Hahn, founder of Sono Motors. "It is incomprehensible to us how business models that advocate climate-friendly mobility can not be taken into account in such a decision". The car has an electric motor with 163 hp (120 kW), a range of around 250 kilometers and should cost 16,000 euros at market launch. Sono Motors plans to produce 43,000 vehicles a year.

"The premium is a problem for smaller manufacturers," says Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management (CAM). Major manufacturers could pass the full rebate on to customers through profits from other parts of the portfolio. "E.Go lives but exactly from the vehicles to offer for a relatively low price," says Bratzel. He proposes to exempt manufacturers who offer electric cars below € 20,000 from the grant.

The e.Go Life in the video:


  Schuh goes on to say: "It would not cost the federal government much to suspend our own contribution, which in turn would significantly increase our chances of surviving in the market." He demands an exception for pure electric car manufacturers. Of those exist in Germany anyway only e.Go. If Schuh could give the full premium to customers, the base model would only cost 9,990 euros.


This year, e.Go started to deliver the first vehicles. In the first full year of production in 2020, at least 15,000 electric cars will be produced. Compared to VW, BMW or Mercedes, this number is negligible – and thus another problem for shoe e-car factory. "Of course you want to support the German industry with the premium and there it is primarily about the major manufacturers," says industry expert Bratzel. Overall, the small manufacturers did not play a big role.

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  However, Schuh does not believe that one wants to oust his company from the market. "Contrary to the intention of the government, however, small electric car manufacturers are disadvantaged by the current regulation," says Schuh. "The increase of the premium is however a good and right decision, in order to advance the electric mobility." He already turned to the responsible federal minister and hopes that pure electric car manufacturers will be freed from the own contribution in the future. "Everything else is not in the sense of the Inventor ", says Schuh.

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