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Support for commercial fleets

The German government also wants to nudge the logistics sector in the direction of green mobility. A new funding programme therefore supports both newly registered vans and trucks with alternative drive systems as well as old diesels that are converted. More than 500 million euros are available.

The funding guideline for commercial vehicles with alternative drives allows owners of commercially used vans and trucks to collect funds for their new, green vehicles. The first call runs from 16.08.2021 to 27.09.2021. The German government plans to spend about 508 million euros on the measure. With the funding programme, which was previously approved by the EU Commission, the government wants to boost the conversion to alternative drives such as electric and fuel cells of the commercial vehicle fleet in Germany.

Eligible for the subsidy are entrepreneurs, municipal enterprises and corporations as well as institutions under public law and registered associations. 

Another prerequisite for funding is that the funded vehicle is not registered in the applicant's name until after the application has been approved. The vehicles do not have to be completely new, but must not have travelled more than 10,000 kilometres on the roads. The owner must then use the vehicle for at least 4 years. N1 and N2 vehicles are only eligible if they are powered entirely by battery or fuel cell. N3 vehicles, i.e. heavy trucks weighing over 12 tonnes, can also receive funding as plug-in hybrids or trolley hybrid vehicles. If the requirements are met, the federal government covers 80% of the additional costs compared to a vehicle with a conventional drive.

But not only new vehicles with alternative drive systems can benefit from the funding. The subsidy programme also applies to converted diesel vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, i.e. N2 and N3 vehicles. They must have been completely converted to an electric or fuel cell drive. Thus, vehicles that are already part of the fleet and are not newly purchased can still benefit from the support.

As a third pillar of the measure, support is also provided for refuelling and charging infrastructure. For example, the construction of mobile and stationary normal and fast charging points, but also the installation of hydrogen filling stations is supported. Just like the vehicles, the infrastructure must subsequently be in use for at least 4 years. Only overhead lines are not covered by the funding guidelines.

The next month will show whether the funding can provide the desired impetus for the mobility transition in the commercial sector.