Demand for NGVs Increases Despite Depressed German Automarket

| Germany

Sales rise almost 60 percent. dena recommends extending tax reductions

In spite of a major decrease in the overall car sales figures in Germany, the demand for natural-gas powered vehicles increased almost 60 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the same period in the previous year. This fact was highlighted by the Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena) – the German Energy Agency – and the “Initiative for Natural-Gas-Based Mobility” based on the data reported recently by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority.

New natural-gas powered vehicles registered (cars) for January to March 2013: 1,511 (market share: 0.2 percent) compared with January to March 2012: 954 (market share: 0.1 percent) – a rise of 58%. The total new cars registered for January to March 2013: 673,957, compared with January to March 2012: 773,636 – a drop of 13%. Source: Federal Motor Vehicle Office.

In order to reinforce this positive trend, dena recommends extending the tax reductions for natural gas and biomethane fuels beyond 2018 and stating the fuel prices at filling stations using energy content values to make the benefits clear to users.

According to dena, the increase is largely due to the introduction of new models like the VW eco up!, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii. Other natural-gas powered models will be launched in the months to come, such as the VW Golf, Audi A3 and the updated Mercedes B-Class. In spite of the higher purchase costs, the overall costs of owning and operating natural-gas powered cars are significantly lower than petrol or diesel cars, and they have a far better CO2 balance, especially when combined with biomethane (according to the ADAC vehicle cost database).

“The recent figures are pleasing, but the market for natural gas vehicles has a lot of room for improvement,” says dena’s Chief Executive Stephan Kohler. “To reach the potential indicated by the German Federal Government of 1.4 million natural-gas powered vehicles by 2020, growth must increase further. Still, the industry’s measures, especially those by the vehicle manufacturers, are slowly starting to take effect. Policy-makers should provide additional incentives – with long-term benefits in fuel tax and price transparency at filling stations.”

The current standard reporting method of prices per litre for petrol and diesel and per kilogram for natural gas and biomethane makes it virtually impossible to compare prices, dena pointed out.

The “Initiative for Natural-Gas-Based Mobility” brings together vehicle manufacturers (Daimler, Fiat, Iveco Magirus, Opel, Volkswagen Group, VDIK – Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers), filling stations (BP/Aral, Shell, UNITI – German Federal Association of Medium-Sized Oil Companies), the natural gas and biogas industry (erdgas mobil, VERBIO, WINGAS), gas engineering (figawa – German Federal Gas and Water Industry Association) and ADAC. The initiative is coordinated by dena. The project’s patron is the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS).

(Source: dena)