Germany pulls the plug on subsidies for electric semi trucks and buses

Like it did with passenger EV rebates back in December, Germany has decided to pull the plug on subsidy programs for electric semi trucks and city buses. What happens to the nation’s commercial EV market now?

If you’re a regular Electrek reader, you probably believe that Germany acted prematurely when it cut its EV subsidy program in December (a full year earlier than expected). Combined with rapid global inflation driving up vehicle prices and governments throughout the EU pouring money into hydrogen refueling and you might think a drop in EV sales is almost inevitable that the country.

That said, this might not be bad news.

See, when the German government established the funding program for climate-friendly commercial trucks back in 2021, the subsidies were seen as a highly effective tool to drive up demand for electric vehicles in the medium- and heavy-duty truck markets. It became clear sometime last year, however, that the budget for electric truck subsidies in the 2024 fiscal year would be tight … because of high demand.

“The second round was effectively spilling over into the period of a possible third round,” writes Cora Werwitzke, for Electrive. “The budget for further funding calls had thus been uncertain for some time.”

A spokeswoman for the the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) noted that previously approved projects would still be funded.

Electrek’s Take

A number of companies have announced big orders for Mercedes, MAN, and Volvo electric commercial vehicles in recent weeks, so the “high demand” claims seem to hold water. And, if the subsidies only existed to spur demand … well, they did their job. The best-selling vehicle in the world is an EV, and it seems like it won’t be long before the best-selling commercial truck is an EV, too.

The same thing is happening in France, after all, and it’s only a matter of time before fleet managers in the US come to realize that electrification’s cost benefits compared to diesel aren’t because of subsidies, too.

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