Germany’s car industry plans to invest nearly 60 billion euros ($68 billion) over the next three years on electric cars and automated driving, the head of the VDA car industry association said.

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Increasing the number of electric cars on the road is critical to reach ambitious goals in the European Union to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and requires the expansion of charging infrastructure, VDA President Bernhard Mattes said Saturday in a statement.

VDA President Bernhard Mattes
VDA President Bernhard Mattes

“The ramp-up of electric mobility is coming in Europe,” said Mattes, who is a former head of Ford’s German business. “Without it, the EU’s CO2 targets cannot be achieved by 2030,” he said, calling for what he called appropriate regulatory conditions across Europe.
German automakers will invest over 40 billion euros in electric mobility during the next three years, and another 18 billion euros will be invested in digitization and connected and automated driving, Mattes said.

The range of electric models from German manufacturers would treble to around 100 in that period, he said.

Germany, together with a few other major European economies, is set to have a much higher share of electric vehicles among its new registrations than the EU average, he said.

Charging infrastructure for electric cars must be expanded and incentives offered to buyers of E-cars, he said.

High prices

Automakers are under pressure from record outlays on electric cars for a payoff that might be years away. Consumers continue to balk at high sticker prices, limited driving ranges and patchy charging infrastructure.
With the number of electric models from Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW reaching about 100 over the next three years, Mattes called for more incentives for buyers.
The cost burden has prompted old rivalries to break down. Daimler and BMW said on Feb. 28 they will cooperate on self-driving vehicles, days after detailing plans to turn their merged car-sharing operations into a global player.
Volkswagen and Ford  have agreed to cooperate on vans, a partnership that may extend to autonomous vehicles in future.
Automakers will be highlighting their latest electric vehicles at the Geneva auto show, which runs from March 7 to 17.
Volkswagen aims to spur interest in its upcoming lineup of mass-market full-electric cars with the I.D. Buggy concept, a modern version of an American beach buggy from the 1960s.
Audi’s Q4 e-tron concept previews a future battery-powered car destined that the brand plans to launch in late 2020-early 2021 as an affordable, entry-level EV.
Mercedes will show the EQV, an electric version of the V-class passenger van that will expand its new range of EQ full-electric vehicles into the commercial van segment.

Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report