E-mobility is where all the hopes of the automotive industry lie. Climate protection activists also see it as a great vehicle for achieving climate objectives. Currently, the purchase of e-cars is still massively subsidized but charging cables for plug-in hybrids are often left sitting in their original packaging in the trunk. Even in major German cities the charging infrastructure is not yet fully developed. So, is e-mobility really the key to the revolution on the roads? Or do we instead need a radical change in transportation that makes private cars superfluous?
Inspiring instead of teaching
I asked Jana Höffner these questions in the latest episode of my “Deep Dive Mobility” podcast. She is the press spokeswoman and second chairwoman of Electrify-BW an association, which aims to inspire and convince people about e-mobility. To this end, Jana volunteers to provide advice and support to interested parties at various trade fairs and events and advocates for a holistic change in transportation.
“The goal of our association is first and foremost to inform people about electromobility and to connect people who are electrically mobile,” says Jana. However, the association does not see itself as a drivers’ club for joyrides, but rather as an educational organization. Typical questions Jana is often confronted with include: Where do I charge my car? What kind of battery do I need?
Interested parties are becoming more receptive to the topic. “If you look at the market right now, the battery car has won! Everyone else has lost,” says Jana. She alludes to the topic of hydrogen, which is always under discussion. “Hydrogen is an interesting technology, it will also play a decisive role in the energy transition, but not in passenger cars.”
“Germans love to compare price tags”
But what is the reason that the radical shift to electric cars is happening so slowly? “Germans love to compare price tags,” says Jana. When purchasing an electric car, compared to one with an internal combustion engine, the investment is far higher at first glance. But most people do not consider the follow-up expenses. For example, an electric car has hardly any maintenance costs. Repairs such as a new exhaust system or the replacement of oil filters are not necessary. “Only the windshield wipers and tires need to be changed every now and then,” reports Jana.
But the seemingly poor infrastructure also deters many people from buying an electric car. Where can I find the nearest charging station? How do I operate it? These are issues that future owners of an electric car will have to deal with. Jana can reassure: “Those concerns persist longer than technological advances.” She says the infrastructure has improved significantly in recent years, and the network continues to grow. Although there are still regions that are less well set up, most people can charge their cars without any problems.
What does the future hold?
“Anyone who still buys a car with an internal combustion engine in five years’ time will have to be an aficionado. And they will have to know that they are destroying a lot of money in the process.”
So how will the market shape up in the future? Jana is optimistic. “Anyone who still buys a car with an internal combustion engine in five years’ time will have to be an aficionado. And they will have to know that they are destroying a lot of money in the process.” As a result, electric cars will become more and more a part of everyday life and will be seen as a normal means of transportation. Which is why Jana’s piece of advice is: “Anyone who has the opportunity should sit in an e-car for once — you have to experience it for yourself!”
The conversation with Jana Höffner is now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.
If you want to know more about how the topic of e-mobility is gaining momentum in the Netherlands, Norway or even in China, how much money you can save by with an electric car and why especially older people should not shy away from buying an electric automobile, listen to our interesting conversation. The latest episode of “Deep Dive Mobility” is available on Spotify, Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts. Unfortunately the podcast is only available in German.