It is a country to be admired for its environmentally friendly incentives, from eco-friendly street lamps, to compulsory recycling routines, right through to its green-energy fried sausages. They were the first country in the world to introduce an environmental label der Blaue Engel (Blue Angel) in the 70s, which countries the world over went on to adopt in their own governmental and corporate policies.
Germany had the right idea back then. And it still does. Home to some of the world’s most renowned car manufacturers and that jazzy ‘das Auto’ ad we all know too well, the most exciting environmental revolution is about to take place. Just last week, Germany’s car industry experienced a reshuffle that is to affect whole value chains in the car industry forever. Daimler teamed up with Bosch on a joint 50:50 electric car venture, driving the car-enthusiasts among us dizzy with excitement… and it really is an electrifying revelation, in every sense of the word. Think about how much money we will all save. I might add at this point that petrol prices have soared in the UK to £1.40 / litre, 4 times the amount of US fuel prices, but it’s all relative. The bottom line is that fuel prices have soared pretty much everywhere and we can only hope in these dark economic times, that the electric car will alleviate fuel consumption. It could even ease political strains between the West and the Middle East.
The fact that the shift towards the electric car is causing mergers and acquisitions in business is a pretty big deal. Even 54-year-old actor Tom Hanks, an eco-friendly enthusiast, has been video-blogging about this on MySpace in his online electric-car campaign series since 2008 www.myspace.com/tomhanks with the example of a Toyota RAV4. The Toyota he exemplifies, has 47,900 miles on the clock but runs off of electric only and even maintains its electric windows feature, not to mention air-conditioning, GPS technology and has “a great sound system” all run on electric. In an experiment, the car drove 93 miles on one sole battery charge….and that was back in 2008…it has to be said, that Japan is ahead of the game with Nissan and Mitsubishi having already launched their electric vehicles in the consumer marketplace. Toyota has since announced it will be releasing its first electric-vehicle next year too, but Germany will soon be following a close second as Daimler and Bosch, the two German engineering and automotive firms, plan to have their product prototype ready by the end of June this year, with a joint production commencing in 2012 at facilities in Stuttgart and Hildesheim, central Germany, which is home to Bosch’s manufacturing plant. Although to begin with, the motors will primarily be designed for Mercedes and smart electric vehicles, Bosch plans to sell this technology to a range of auto-manufacturers in the future. Meanwhile, BMW are joining the rally too: they just invested $400m (£355m) to develop an electric car by 2013.
Low carbon- monitoring has had its hey-day: it’s time for Germany to create a buzz again: it’s not rocket-science, but then again, it’s not far off. Germany’s Bundes-Kanzler Angela Merkel is pushing Germany’s domestic industry to thrive and has set the business sector a target of one million electric vehicles to hit Germany’s roads by 2020.
Another priority on Germany’s agenda for 2020 is solar energy. Germany is one of the EU’s leading states to have signed up to the EU-wide target and in doing so commits to sourcing 20% of the country’s energy needs from renewables, including biomass, hydro, wind and solar power in just under nine years time.
© Gabriella White Multilingual Books 2011