BRUSSELS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 19th November, 2019) The huge shift from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles is in full swing, and the arrival of US electric car manufacturer Tesla in Germany Europe‘s automobile heartland is a symbol of that.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on November 12 that a new Gigafactory Europe would be built in the Berlin area and will make batteries, powertrains and vehicles.

Tesla is planning to invest about 4 billion Euros, or some $4.4 billion, in its European factory, according to Germany‘s Bild am Sonntag newspaper. The start of the construction in reportedly expected in the first quarter of 2020.

Tesla’s announcement came on the heels of the news that the German government and carmakers agreed to continue the program of subsidies for electric vehicle buyers through 2025.

The race to the fully electric car was partly spurred on by the Dieselgate, which started in 2015. One of Germany‘s biggest carmakers, Volkswagen, was found to be manipulating software in its cars to cheat emission tests. Volkswagen‘s shares plunged amid the scandal. The German car industry‘s reputation has been hit hard by the scandal that started in the United States but soon gained international dimension.

Beleaguered Volkswagen said in 2017 it would ramp up its investments in electric cars. Earlier in November, the company‘s Zwickau plant began mass production of Volkswagen‘s very own electric vehicle, ID.3. The launch was attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and other high-profile guests.

Although Tesla is a competitor, the German Association of the Automotive Industry has welcomed the establishment of a new factory.

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“We are not afraid of competition, quite the opposite: the German automotive industry has grown in international competition and has taken a leading position because of this,” Bernhard Mattes, the association’s president, said in a statement published on the lobby’s website.

Whoever makes the electric cars of the future, the vehicles will need to charge somewhere. New infrastructure is a big part of this transition.

Steven Colla, a business development manager at Allego, which specializes in charging, suggests that electric cars can be “a solution rather than a problem for electricity consumption.”

“Most users will reload the batteries of their car at home, during the night, while they sleep. It is when the electricity consumption is very low, so there would be no strain on the system, to the contrary. Moreover, in the future, the electricity stocked in cars, could be used at peak hours by the electricity producers and the network managers, when electricity networks are going to communicate with cars on the one hand and with producing power plants on the other (it is called the V2G, vehicle-to-grid, and could function both ways),” Colla told Sputnik.

Meanwhile, Damien Ernst, an electromechanics professor at the University of Liege, believes that gas stations will have to be replaced by “much larger charging stations.”

“With super-chargers, it will be possible to reload in some 15 minutes, enough to cover another 300 km. But it also means that you will have to multiply the charging units. Where you have now 20 gas pumps and refill your tank in one minute, you will need 400 recharge points, to service the same number of cars. The electric power that will need to be pulled all along the motorway is of the order of 120 [megawatt hours] MWh. You can imagine the importance of the infrastructure change needed, but it is doable,” Ernst told Sputnik.

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Germany is already thinking ahead Mattes said earlier this month that the country needed a million public charging points by 2030, “an additional 100,000 fast charging points and several million private charging points.”





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