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Berlin not prepared for e-cars

The city expects a significant increase in e-cars. But there is a lack of charging stations and models for the middle class.

Environment and Transport Senator Regine Günther expects a significant increase in e-cars over the next few years. However, there are still too many obstacles preventing citizens from buying an e-car. Above all, the infrastructure of charging stations must be further expanded to be able to cope with the expected increase. In addition, there are not yet enough mid-range cars to make the purchase of an e-car palatable to citizens.

Currently, there are about 1400 publicly accessible charging stations in Berlin. This makes the capital city the leader in a German comparison. By 2022, another 1000 charging stations are to be added. However, this is not enough, especially outside the city centre, where many people are still dependent on cars because public transport connections are poor.

Green politician Günther also sees a problem in the range of e-cars, which come either as small cars or luxury limousines. For the normal consumer, there is no electric alternative to a hybrid or full combustion engine when buying a new car. The senator sees hybrid vehicles as a deceptive package: "I advise [...] against buying so-called hybrid vehicles. The electric range is often very low, often only 20 to 40 kilometres - and the rest of the time you drive with fossil combustion technology, which is very harmful to the climate." The problem of range, also with electric cars, must therefore be solved quickly by the automotive industry to make them attractive.

So although the senator has high hopes for the increase in e-cars in the coming years, she does not want to replace combustion cars one-to-one with e-cars. In the city, public transport, better cycle paths and electric car-sharing should be the means of choice instead. Internal combustion cars should be banned within the ring road from 2030.

The interior senator is in a position to initiate the changes she hopes for. Berliners have been complaining for years about the poor public transport connections in the outer districts of the city. The cycle paths in the city on the Spree are also significantly worse than in other major cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen. And even in a German comparison, they lag far behind. Car-sharing is becoming more and more a part of daily life for Berliners through private companies, but city services such as public transport car-sharing are on the brink of extinction because there is not enough money available. At least the public transport buses are becoming more and more electric.

So Berliners hope that Günther will back up her words with deeds - for e-cars and the traffic turnaround in the city centre. Should this not succeed, perhaps stricter rules in the environmental zone or more diesel driving bans would be the consequence in order to implement the Green Party's goals for a clean inner city.