125 Years of German Automotive Tradition Shifts to Batteries

January 29th marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of the automobile by Karl Benz. On that date in 1886, the Mercedes-Benz namesake registered his ‘vehicle powered by a gas engine’ in Germany. Today Germany’s automotive industry is on the verge of a paradigm shift away from the internal combustion engine and toward electric mobility. The market for automotive lithium ion batteries in Germany is expected to boom in the coming years. For the fifth consecutive year, Germany Trade & Invest will be at this year’s Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Pasadena, California, from January 24-28, 2011.

Electric mobility in Germany is backed by over EUR 500 million in federal funding through the National Electromobility Development Plan. The initiative seeks to put one million electric vehicles on Germany’s roads by 2020. At the same time, industry players are also making major contributions. Every German manufacturer will have an alternative drive vehicle on the market this year and a full electric vehicle by 2013.

The automotive industry in Germany is the country’s most important sector in terms of revenue, accounting for EUR 263 billion in 2009. In the field of electric mobility, there are currently eight model regions testing the application of battery-driven mobility. Thirteen additional locations are focusing on the smart grid infrastructure as well as information and communications technology for electric mobility. Partners range from carmakers like Daimler and Volkswagen to utilities, national and federal state ministries, and renowned research institutes. Pilot projects currently have several fleets of electric vehicles and are already building a charging infrastructure and testing applications including mail and cargo delivery.

Germany’s automotive industry commits over EUR 21 billion annually to research and development. Around ten new patents are registered each day in this field. German researchers are addressing a wide range of electric mobility topics, covering such areas as battery capacity and light materials for auto bodies. The AUE Mobility initiative is even actively evaluating the acoustic impact and risk potential of silent electric vehicles.

At this year’s Advanced Automotive Battery Conference, Germany Trade & Invest’s industry experts will be on hand at booth 319 to assist interested investors looking to expand their business to Germany. These experts assist with the entire investment process, ranging from finding an appropriate location to partnering with established industry players and research institutes.

Germany Trade & Invest is the foreign trade and inward investment promotion agency of the Federal Republic of Germany. The organization advises foreign companies looking to expand their business activities in the German market. It provides information on foreign trade to German companies that seek to enter foreign markets.