Doubts about whether Germany's "national electric mobility platform" will be successful are emerging in the auto industry after an electric-vehicle summit involving leading politicians and car industry leaders in Berlin.
Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to make Germany the world's leading market for electric cars.
But her government's refusal to subsidize electric-car purchases disappointed some in the industry -- including Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche, who supports state sales incentives for electric vehicles.
The VDA, the German auto industry association, doesn't want to adopt Zetsche's position officially because of Germany's high debt level. But it's asking the government to examine "market incentive systems in an international context."
Other countries spend billions on electric-car subsidies.
The VDA says electric drive "will be much more expensive than conventional powertrains, even in the middle term."
"Today, the additional cost for a midsize vehicle comes to about 15,000 euros [about $18,500], and this can be reduced to 10,000 to 7,000 euros in the middle term," according to a confidential VDA policy paper obtained by Automobilwoche, a German sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
The VDA also has its doubts whether the industry can make rapid progress toward the government's electric mobility goal, which calls for a million electric cars on German roads by 2020. "The batteries for a high-volume electric mobility market are still not available," the paper said.
Burkhard Weller, owner of the Weller dealership group, said car buyers already are haggling over every cent of the cost of a vehicle. "It's impossible to set prices several thousand euros higher for electric cars," he said.
Many suppliers only want research into electric mobility promoted at this point.
Bernd Bohr, the head of vehicle technology at Robert Bosch GmbH, sees government incentive programs as a potential source of problems.
"When it is a matter of distributing the funds," he said, "there will be even more wrangling."