German minister calls for accelerated investments in electric car tech

Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, in a recent interview, highlighted that the country’s automotive industry must invest heavily in electric car technology and develop battery production facilities in Europe to keep up with global competitors.

Altmaier told Germany’s mass-circulation Bild newspaper that the carmakers needed to invest high “two-digit billion amounts” in electric car technology, saying he did not understand why the firms had hesitated for so long, Reuters reported.

Altmaier also said that investments in battery production are also needed, given expected demand for many millions of electric batteries that could help firms earn good money. “Otherwise we’ll have to accept that a large part of the added value will be produced in Asia or the United States, instead of here with us,” he said.

According to Reuters, Germany’s car industry accounts for some 800,000 jobs in Europe’s biggest economy, is struggling with a global backlash against diesel cars after Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it had cheated US exhaust tests.

To help reduce pollution levels and avoid a total ban on diesel vehicles, VW, Daimler and others have stepped up development of electric cars.

Futhermore, Altmaier has reportedly said that German carmakers needed to develop a model that had at least the range of a Tesla but costs less, and should work on developing an information technology platform for self-driving cars that was the best in the world. “The first safe self-driving cars must operate with German technology,” he said.

He then encouraged German companies to work closely with other European firms to develop a European battery cell production.

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