October 31, 2020

Government incentives push electric car sales to record high in Germany

Volkswagen's ID4, the brand's first electric SUV, on show in Saxony, Dresden, Germany, on 23 September. Photo: Robert Michael/Picture Alliance via Getty
Volkswagen’s ID4, the brand’s first electric SUV, on show in Saxony, Dresden, Germany, on 23 September. Photo: Robert Michael/Picture Alliance via Getty

The shift to electric cars is gaining momentum in Germany, thanks in large part to government-backed incentives that are encouraging buyers to make the switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.

Figures published by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority on Monday show registrations of new all-electric vehicles (BEVs) have risen by 260% in September, from the same month in 2019, to 21,188. These now account for an 8% share of the overall car market.

Hybrids make up just over 20% of the passenger-car market, with registrations up 185% last month from the previous September.

As part of its coronavirus stimulus package, the German government decided not to fund discounts on fossil-fuel cars or back a cash-for-clunkers scheme, but rather to support the switch to clean mobility by doubling subsidies

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Real estate agents get creative with buyer incentives

In five years as a San Francisco real estate agent, Emily Beaven has never experienced such a dry spell. She has several condos on the market right now that she’s representing and she has no offers and zero showings scheduled for them.

She decided it was time to get creative.

“We’re not even getting calls on things. It’s a bit of a ghost town. Then I started to see the incentive trend happening, ” Beaven said. “When you’re not in a super-strong seller’s market, when properties need that extra boost, that’s when [incentives] happen. We’re entering a period of desperation.”

Incentives are designed to entice the buyer or the buyer’s agent to get a property sold as soon as possible. Pre-pandemic, a higher commission for the buyer’s agent was a common incentive, as were restaurant gift cards, but when Beaven saw roundtrip tickets to Paris advertised recently as an agent

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Trump claims credit for electric vehicle incentives his administration opposes

President Trump claimed during Tuesday’s debate that his administration has given “big incentives” to electric cars, despite a consistent push from his White House to pull the plug on federal tax credits for the vehicles.

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“I’m okay with electric cars, too. I’m all for electric cars,” Trump said during a climate change segment within Tuesday night’s debate. “I’ve given big incentives to electric cars, but what they’ve done in California is just crazy.”


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Trump didn’t go into detail, but he was likely referring to Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s commitment last week to require 100% zero-emissions vehicle sales in the state starting in 2035, essentially banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by that year.

The president’s claims that he supports electric car incentives don’t hold up, however. The White House has repeatedly sought to kill tax credits, which offer consumers a $7,500

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