Press release

The federal government provides purchase grants for electronic vehicles and plug-in-hybrids of €600 million. The support grant is to be topped up by a supplementary grant of the same amount furnished by car manufacturers.

German car manufacturers have exerted considerable influence on the federal government decision to develop and shape this grant towards making cars greener. Our audit findings suggest that the purchase grant share to be borne by car manufacturers is often offset against standard discounts in place. We doubt that car manufacturers really provided a genuine share to the grant. The federal government also included electric car leasing in its grant scheme although the documents qualifying for grant eligibility could not be presented. Motorists made much less use of the purchase grant than projected. By July 2018, rather than the projected 300,000 applications, only some 70,000 had been submitted.

We alerted the Federal Ministry to the risk associated with letting third parties exert influence on overall economic decision-making. This is especially true if such third parties have drawn monetary profits from this. We demanded the Ministry to conduct a mid-term review of the grant scheme and make modifications as needed. The Ministry should perform its regulatory responsibility in an unbiased and neutral way. This also means to step up efforts to encourage car manufacturers to produce more electric vehicles.

In May 2016, the Federal Government had adopted the environmental bonus. The grant scheme was effective from 2 July 2016 and will run until 30 June 2019.