While much of the focus in the electric vehicle industry continues to fall upon the USA, it is worth noting that not all countries around the world are progressing at the same speed. EV enthusiasts received a timely reminder with news that German giant Siemens is scaling back its public electric vehicle charging business joint-venture with SAP.
The German conglomerate will still be producing an array of in-home charging stations for the German market but the relatively slow uptake of electric vehicles amongst German motorists has led to a sudden halt in its public charging ambitions. It is not clear exactly why German motorists have been slower than many around the world to embrace electric vehicle technology but it is a reminder that it will not be a smooth transition from gasoline/petrol vehicles.
In reality, Germany is not the only country to be experiencing a relatively slow uptake in electric vehicles and in all honesty, the rate at which sales are increasing in the USA will eventually translate to other markets. In many ways the American electric vehicle industry is the catalyst for the worldwide electric vehicle industry allowing companies to test their wares and to introduce new technology in their own time.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "There is speculation that Tesla will have an affordable EV on the market by 2017 with a price tag in the region of $40,000. What is the maximum you would pay for an EV today?"
It may well be that the excessive financial support currently afforded the EV industry by the U.S. government has very much quickened the pace of uptake, although time will tell. Even though the German economy is one of the strongest in Europe (at this moment in time) there is no doubt that the German authorities have more to consider that an increase in electric vehicle subsidies. The country is, to all intents and purposes, the head state of the European Union and as such will play a vital role in rescuing the European economy in the short to medium term.
Worldwide electric vehicle charging industry
As we covered in one of our earlier articles, there are expectations that up to 200,000 fast charging stations could be available by 2020 compared to around 2,000 at this moment in time. So while the announcement from Siemens, which only three years ago had been very vocal in its support of the EV industry, is a little disappointing for Germany in particular - and perhaps the wider European sector, it is not the end of the world.
While there has been significant movement with regards to environmental issues within Europe there are still a number of issues to resolve with regards to electric vehicles and the encouragement of their take-up. However the rate of take-up in the EV industry varies enormously across Europe with the Dutch authorities in particular very proactive in the area of a national recharging network.
There is growing competition in the electric vehicle charging network sector although it would appear to be the relatively slow take-up of electric vehicles in Germany which has forced Siemens to reconsider its short-term strategy. The company is still going to be active in the home charging sector, offering an array of products in the short to medium term, and in all likelihood the conglomerate will eventually return to the public charging network sector at a later date.