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German eco cars scheme gets EU green light

13 February 2017, 23:05 CET
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German eco cars scheme gets EU green light

Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

(BRUSSELS) - A scheme to roll out a user-friendly network for charging electric vehicles across Germany is in line with EU state aid rules, the European Commission announced on Monday.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the scheme addressed a real gap in the market without unduly affecting competition in the EU's Single Market: "Electric vehicles can provide real benefits to society by reducing harmful emissions and noise pollution", she said. "The German support scheme will encourage consumers and businesses to use electric vehicles. It will provide the necessary infrastructure in a cost-effective way in line with EU state aid rules."

The infrastructure scheme promotes the installation of new standard and high-speed charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as extending existing infrastructure, at a cost of EUR 300 million over four years.

The scheme is open to all, including companies, individuals and local authorities, and support will be awarded progressively through an open and transparent tender procedure. It requires that the electricity for the charging infrastructure comes from renewable energy sources.

The measure will encourage a significant uptake of electric vehicles, says the Commission, and therefore "make a major contribution towards meeting the common interest of reducing emissions and improving air quality".

A significance of the scheme is that it is in line with the European Strategy for low-emission mobility, and that it will help speed up deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport and contributing to the decarbonisation agenda.

It is expected to stimulate investment in a market that still requires incentives before it can function on its own. The Commission expects that the financial support for the construction of charging infrastructure will create the conditions for its further expansion without any further support in the future. It will also encourage the use of electric vehicles on German and European roads.

The Commission has concluded on this basis that the measure is in line with EU state aid rules (Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), which allow aid to facilitate the development of economic activities in the common interest under certain conditions.

The non-confidential versions of this decision will be made available under the case number SA.46574 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website, once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. The electronic newsletter "State aid Weekly e-News" lists the most recent state aid decisions published in the Official Journal and on the website.

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