Germany Is Looking to Tie Its Automotive Future to the Electric Car

German automakers are unified in their pursuit of electrification.

Verschiffung BMW i3 in Bremerhaven 11-2015
Tom Kirkpatrick—Tom Kirkpatrick

Germany has a reputation for being at the forefront of automotive technologies. The automobile, the supercharger, the gas-electric hybrid car, and many other concepts first occurred in that country, or were completed with some contribution from a citizen. According to the Financial Times and Reuters, the German automakers are looking to change their futures, and ultimately their fortunes, by investing in the electric car.

German car manufacturers are currently in a situation where one of the most important parts of their electric vehicle solutions, the battery, is produced outside of their country. The batteries are sourced from Asia. The Germans are also falling short on electric vehicle production projections. Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly relented that Germany will not be able to put 1 million electric cars onto roads by the end of the decade.

In response, Daimler, BMW, and Volkswagen have announced plans to catch up to and eventually overtake EV leader Tesla. BMW already have the i3 and i8, and will be adding a variety of electric cars and SUVs to their lineup in the near future. Daimler are aiming to speed up their EV program with large investments in produce development and manufacturing. Volkswagen are making the e-Golf, and also intend to introduce a production version of their ID concept. Their approaches all have one thing in common: Saxony.

The state of Saxony is a hotbed of technological innovation for Germany. Audi, the steam engine, and many other non-automotive ideas and implementations have occurred in the region. Furthermore, the border between Saxony and the Czech Republic holds the largest deposit of lithium in Europe. Lithium is a primary constituent of modern battery technology. Perhaps most importantly, there are incentives for manufacturers and innovators to work in Saxony thanks to Government subsidies and relatively low wages.

Because of their existing infrastructure, the road to electrification for the Germans will not be easy. But their large resources and forward-thinking mindsets mean that they are ready to put in the effort to find ways to stay on top in the automotive industry.