The promotion of electric cars:

Is e-mobility worthwhile now?


Image result for electric cars

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Money from the state when buying a new car? This was previously known only from the 2009 paid “scrapping”. Since July 2016 motorists can again apply for a subsidy when purchasing a new car: the environmental bonus. However, this is only available for the promotion of electric cars. The German government wants to use it as a starting aid for the spread of electromobility in road traffic. Whether the alternative form of propulsion becomes profitable for car drivers due to the environmental bonus – our article explains the connections.


list Price The Federal Office for Economics and Export Control, which is responsible for the environmental bonus, refers to the list price as the net list price of the basic model. Optional extras and extras of the vehicle are not taken into consideration.
Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) These hybrid vehicles are equipped with both a conventional fuel tank and a rechargeable battery. The term “plug-in” indicates that the battery can be charged from the outside – for example, at a charging station. The abbreviation PHEV stands for “Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle”.
Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCEV) The vehicles use a fuel cell to generate electrical drive energy from hydrogen.

So the state promotes the purchase of electric cars

Since July 2016, buyers of electric cars can apply for a state subsidy. This is referred to by the federal government as an environmental bonus . What an eligible electric vehicle is is defined in § 2 of the Electric Mobility Act.
This includes:

  • Pure battery electric vehicles (BEV)
  • Hybrid electric vehicles that can be charged externally (plug-in hybrid (PHEV))
  • Fuel cell vehicles (FCEV)

In addition to private individuals, companies, associations, foundations and corporate bodies may submit applications. The leasing of new electric cars will also be subsidized. The car has to be allowed to stay on the keeper for 6 months. Not all of this amount is paid by the state. The federal government and automakers each contribute 50 percent of the funding. The amount of this depends on the type of electric car you have purchased:

Award amount
vehicle type
4,000 euros Pure battery electric vehicles
3,000 euros Hybrid electric vehicles (plug-in hybrids)
4,000 euros Fuel cell vehicles

The different subsidies are justified by the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA) with the CO2 emissions of the various vehicle types. For pure fuel cell vehicles and pure electric cars, there is the full promotion, because they do not emit CO2 while driving, hybrid vehicles, however, already. In our guide to electric cars you will find comprehensive information on the range, performance and cost of vehicles.


Anyone who has bought an electric car after 18 May 2016 can also retroactively apply for an environmental bonus.


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Promotion is not offered permanently

The volume of the total funding program amounts to 1.2 billion euros. With this amount, about 400,000 cars can be subsidized. It is not planned to increase the funds or launch a new funding program once the funds have been exhausted. In addition, the state has limited the environmental bonus for a limited period of time. The distribution will end on 30 June 2019, even if not all the funding has been paid out by then.


Pure electric vehicles are sometimes referred to by the abbreviation BEV . It stands for “Battery Electric Vehicle”.

The state does not promote every electric car

There are clear criteria for which electric cars are eligible and which are not. As a general rule, the environmental bonus is awarded only when new cars are purchased, used cars are excluded from the promotion. The list price may not exceed 60,000 euros. Who wants to make sure that he buys an eligible “Stromer” can look on this list of the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control. Examples of eligible vehicles:

  • Audi A3 (PHEV)
  • BMW i3 (BEV)
  • BMW 225xe (PHEV)
  • Citroën C-Zero (BEV)
  • Ford Focus (BEV)
  • Hyundai ix35 (FCEV)
  • Mercedes Benz C 350e Model T (PHEV)
  • Nissan Leaf (BEV)
  • Peugeot i-On (BEV)
  • Renault Kangoo (BEV)
  • Tesla Model S Base (BEV)
  • Toyota Prius (PHEV)
  • Volkswagen e-Golf (BEV)
  • Volkswagen Golf GTE (PHEV)

Why does the state even grant a subsidy for electric cars?

The federal government has set the goal that in 2020 one million cars with electric drive should be on the roads of Germany. This should help to reduce CO2 emissions in road traffic . In contrast to conventional internal combustion engines, electric cars release no harmful and environmentally harmful gases and particles. In addition, an electric motor with an efficiency of more than 90 percent is much more efficient than internal combustion engines. In the latter case, only about 40 percent of the energy used is actually used. However, electric cars are really “green” only if the electricity used to charge the battery comes from renewable sources.

Thus, applications are made for the promotion of electric cars


Image result for electric cars

You can submit an application online on the BAFA website. The postal service is excluded. The procedure is divided into two steps: In the first step , the application is made. All relevant data are requested here, and you must also upload the purchase or lease contract via the online platform. It must be clear that the car maker’s share of the environmental bonus is included in the purchase price. This must be offset against the purchase or lease price.


CosmosDirekt also offers “Stromer” a powerful and cost-effective car insurance.

If the application meets the criteria, the Office issues the grant decision. This is not yet synonymous with the payment of the state share of the environmental bonus. First, the second step of the procedure must be completed: the where-used list. In this case, the buyer must upload the invoice and the registration certificates Part I and II via the online portal. This must be done no later than 9 months after issuance of the admission notice.


Not subsidized hybrid cars that can not be charged from the outside at a station. In these vehicles, the battery is charged only while driving (for example, by the Rekuperationsverfahren).

The promotion of electric vehicles will continue after the purchase

In addition to the environmental bonus, the state tries to convince motorists by tax benefits from the purchase of an electric car. “Stromer”, which were approved before January 1, 2016 January, are exempt from motor vehicle tax for 10 years . If the authorization is or has been made after this deadline, the exemption will still last 5 years . When replacing a holder, the tax exemption goes over to the new holder for the remaining time.

And even if the exemption has expired, the holder of an electric car pays only 50 percent of the tax rate . Unlike conventional passenger cars, this is calculated based on the weight of the car and not on CO 2 emissions and displacement. Holders of hybrid electric cars, on the other hand, have to pay the full amount of the tax. In addition to the environmental bonus, the state also tries to convince motorists to buy electric cars by tax advantages. “Stromer”, which were approved before January 1, 2016 January, are exempt from motor vehicle tax for 10 years. If the authorization is or has been made after this deadline, the exemption will still last 5 years. When replacing a holder, the tax exemption goes over to the new holder for the remaining time.

Total weight (in kg)
Tax rate per started 200 kg total weight (in €)

to 2,000


2,000 – 3,000


3,000 – 3,500


Is an electric car worth promoting?

General statements about whether electric cars are worthwhile or not, are not to be made. But with environmental bonus, there is also a tendency that only a few electric vehicles are profitable for the buyer . Because comparable vehicle models with petrol or diesel tank are often much cheaper than “Stromer”. The additional costs associated with the purchase are offset by the environmental bonus, the lower tax burden and lower consumption costs only in relatively few cases. In addition, “Stromer” for frequent travelers because of their short range are usually not a real alternative. This is usually between 100 and 200 kilometers with a battery charge.

The ADAC has performed a comparison test over 4 years and a total mileage of 60,000 kilometers. In it, the environmental bonus was already taken into account. Only 2 out of 12 e-cars were cheaper than the respective comparable gasoline and diesel variants: the Kia Soul EV and the Mercedes B250 e.


Image result for electric cars

Are other alternative fuels promoted?

In addition to electric cars, vehicles powered by natural gas (CNG) benefit from subsidies. Regional utilities support both the purchase and retrofitting of vehicles. The amount of support depends on the individual case; up to 1,000 euros are quite possible. Also the modalities of the promotion differ from each other. While some subsidize the purchase or retrofitting costs, others issue fuel vouchers . The state also improves natural gas drivers. This is noticeable at the pump. Because the energy tax on natural gas as a fuel is reduced. The same applies to liquefied petroleum gas . This will remain so until at least December 31, 2018 . How it goes on, is still not very clear (as of August 2016). The tax rebates may then be phased out in stages.

Conclusion: An overview of the most important aspects of promoting electromobility

With the environmental bonus, the state wants to help electric cars to make a breakthrough. “Stromer” should contribute to reducing the emissions of climate-damaging CO2. For motorists, the purchase of an electric vehicle is worthwhile, despite the promotion only in a few cases.

The most important facts about the promotion

  • 4,000 euros environmental bonus when buying a pure electric car or fuel cell car.
  • € 3,000 environmental bonus on the purchase of a plug-in hybrid.
  • The total subsidy amount can support about 400,000 vehicles.
  • Regardless of the sum applied for, support will end with the environmental bonus on 30 June 2019.

Requirements for the buyer

  • Individuals, companies, associations, foundations and corporations are entitled to make an application.
  • Only the acquisition (purchase and leasing) of new cars is subsidized.
  • The vehicle registration must be made in Germany to the applicant.
  • The “Stromer” must remain on the holder for at least 6 months.

Condition for the vehicle

  • It supports pure electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
  • The net list price of the “Stromers” must not exceed 60,000 euros.
  • Only vehicles registered for the first time from 18 May 2016 will be eligible.

Application and distribution of the environmental bonus

  • 50 percent of the environmental bonus will be paid by the federal government and the car manufacturers.
  • The 2-stage application process takes place online via the BAFA portal.
  • The state part of the support will be paid after presentation of the proof of use (level 2).
  • The car manufacturers offset their share of the environmental bonus with the purchase or leasing price.

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