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Outrage as Environmental bonus comes to an end: Car expert shocked: “Authorities have deceived tens of thousands of buyers”

On Saturday, the Ministry announced that applications for the subsidy would only be accepted until Sunday at 24.00. The reason was the budget constraints. The SPD criticized the last-minute end as “extremely unfortunate” and called for a transitional solution.

The Ministry’s decision affects the so-called environmental bonus, through which buyers of electric cars could receive several thousand euros in subsidy from the state upon application. Last week, the coalition leaders decided in their agreement on the 2024 budget to phase out the subsidy. However, the fact that the application stop should take effect on Sunday came as a surprise to many.

Industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer warned of dramatic consequences for the German automotive industry. “The competitiveness of the manufacturers is now severely damaged,” Dudenhöffer told the “Rheinische Post”. Without high investments in electric cars, the German industry would lose decisive advantages: “The Chinese are massively expanding their automotive industry because they have customers. Our manufacturers no longer have any.”

Car expert shocked: “Authorities have deceived tens of thousands of buyers”

And he was even more drastic in his comments to ” Bild “. Because, as the newspaper reports, the date of registration, not the date of the purchase contract, applies to the environmental bonus. This means that those who have bought their new electric car but have not yet registered it by Sunday night will not receive a bonus. Dudenhöffer is therefore “absolutely shocked”.

“In my opinion, the traffic light government has deceived tens of thousands of car buyers,” he told “Bild”. He explained that thousands had already bought their electric cars but had not yet received delivery – and therefore could not register it. And those who already have the car but could not finalize the application could also miss out.

Therefore, deputy SPD parliamentary group leaders Detlef Müller, Matthias Miersch and Verena Hubertz called on Sunday on Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) to “organize a more reliable transition”. Most people have to “carefully calculate how they can afford to buy a new car and have certainly planned for the bonus.”

The Ministry of Economy immediately rejected this: There is no money for a transitional solution. A ministry spokesman acknowledged that the phase-out of the subsidy created a “difficult situation” for all those who had expected a bonus. However, the abrupt end of the funding program had become necessary “because there is no longer enough money available to consider applications received after Sunday”. This situation is “a direct consequence” of the budget ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court.

Habeck-Ministry defends itself: “We reject the one-sided criticism”

However, already promised subsidies are not affected by the end of the subsidy and will be paid out. Existing applications received up to and including December 17 will be processed in the order of their receipt and approved if the funding requirements are met, the ministry explained.

The decision to end the subsidy at short notice was “jointly agreed with the Federal Chancellery,” emphasized a ministry spokesperson on Sunday.Ministry spokesperson stated, “We reject the one-sided criticism. The accusation of ‘unilateral criticism’ also referred to the critical comments from the SPD parliamentary group, according to information from ministry circles.”

Already, “all the means available in the 2023 budget year have been exhausted,” further stated from Habeck’s ministry. The funds of 209 million euros scheduled for 2024 “will only be sufficient if the support ends immediately.”

E-car decision sharply criticized, Habeck receives support from the FDP

According to AFP, around 1400 applications have been submitted daily, with an average funding amount of 4000 euros. Each additional day of application incurs a cost to the state of approximately 5.6 million euros. An application stop at the end of the year, as initially expected, would have required additional funds of around 80 million euros.

Habeck’s ministry received support from the coalition partner FDP. FDP parliamentary leader Christian Dürr described it to the Funke newspapers as “right that this costly support ends earlier than planned.” This contributes “to the urgently needed consolidation of the federal budget.”

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, approximately ten billion euros have been paid out for around 2.1 million electric vehicles through the environmental bonus since 2016. The government aimed to support its target of bringing a total of 15 million full-electric cars onto the roads by 2030 with the grants.

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