The new Electric Mobility Funding Guideline of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI – Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur), published at the end of 2020, has got off to a successful start with three funding calls so far in the areas of research and development; procurement of vehicles including the associated charging infrastructure; and electric mobility concepts.

Interest in the funding programme, which has existed since 2015, remains encouragingly high: All funding calls have received more applications for funding support than the amount allotted for the calls. For the first time, the funding guideline was also open for commercial applicants in addition to municipal applicants.

There was particularly strong demand for investment funding. The increasing availability and variety of different passenger car models is reflected in the interest shown for funding: It is anticipated that almost 1,000 passenger cars will be procured through the funding call. The benefits of special electric vehicles are also increasingly being recognised, especially in the municipal context as cleaning or maintenance vehicles as well as vehicles for use in parks and gardens. More than 90 applications for special vehicles are expected to be approved. It is planned that further interested applicants will be able to submit applications via a subsequent funding call in 2022.

The Research and Development (R&D) funding pillar of the funding guideline has also proven to be a strong driver in the funding programme to activate the market for electric vehicles and components. A new feature this year was the adoption of a fast-track procedure to enable rapid processing by the project management organisation through more stringent requirements for application submissions and to respond quickly to research questions of relevance to the market. This allows the projects to start more quickly than in the past. A total of 84 applicants used this funding call to submit their projects for the development, initiation and testing of electric mobility utilisation and operation concepts, or for the further development of components and systems of battery electric vehicles. It is anticipated that nine outlines, with a good distribution across the transport modes of bus, truck, rail and ship as well as charging infrastructure, can be positively assessed and approved. A further call for R&D in the field of electric mobility is currently being prepared and will be published in summer 2021.

For the first time, interested commercial companies were also able to submit applications in the area of electric mobility concepts: With the support of external experts and service providers, the potential of electric mobility in the company or municipality is analysed. The response to the funding call, which closed in mid-May, has been very positive – a total of more than 120 applications were submitted, almost half of which came from commercial applicants.

The predecessor of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure’s Electric Mobility Funding Guideline was in effect from 2015 until the end of 2020 and comprised a total of 15 funding calls with 1,014 projects, a total volume of 725 million euros and funding amounting to 379 million euros. In the overall balance of the BMVI’s Electric Mobility Funding Guidelines since 2009, more than 18,000 vehicles and 8,500 infrastructure units have been approved. These units have been put into operation within the implementation years or will be successively put into operation in 2021.