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Merkel Determined to Mainstream Electric Cars in Germany

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MerkelDespite lack of consumer interest, German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to try to make good on her vow to bring one million cars to German roads by 2020.

Merkel’s goal is lofty. The German automobile market exceeded $3 million but electric cars accounted for only 3,000 of that number. The electric car has seen waning interest due to its high cost and range limitations. In fact, over the course of the past two years, drivers have grown more skeptical about the technology and refuse to pay more money for an electric car.

To give the electric car a boost, the German automobile industry plans to invest $15.5 billion in battery-powered electric cars and alternative powertrains over the course of the next four years.

Tesla is one of the few electric car companies that has had any success. In fact, the company just posted its first-ever quarterly profit.

The chief executive of GM’s Opel unit, Karl-Thomas Neumann, said they actually lose money with each Ampera they sell due to the cost of the technology. However, in 2012, out of 1 million cars, Opel sold 5,300 Amperas, making it the best-selling electric car in Europe.

Other electric car companies are in big trouble. Fisker Automotive is in talks to sell to a new owner, and electric car battery maker A123 filed for bankruptcy. Better Place, an Israeli charging station provider, filed a court motion to liquidate.

Merkel may have her work cut out for her.

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