Attractiveness of electric vehicles under current tax and incentive schemes in Germany: A total cost of ownership calculation from the customer's perspective
Electric vehicles (EVs) have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from private motorized transport. While the registered number of EVs is increasing in Germany, their share of registrations still lags far behind that of conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEVs). In the literature, many studies compare the total costs of ownership (TCO) of EVs and ICEVs, as these have significant influence on customers' purchasing decisions and thus on vehicle market shares. However, these studies rely mostly on parameters derived under laboratory conditions instead of considering realistic data on technical (e.g. fuel consumption), behavioural (e.g. share of electric driving of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)), economic parameters (e.g. insurance costs, prices for public (fast) charging) as well as financial incentives and taxes. Our research creates greater transparency for customers and policy makers alike with a detailed and customer-centric TCO calculation with the base years 2020 and 2030. We compare vehicles from different segments with conventional, hybrid and electric powertrains. Our analysis uses large parameter data sets sourced from the General German Automobile Association and retail price comparison portals, and we supplement these by meta-analyses of academic literature and market studies. We found that battery electric vehicles(BEVs) and PHEVs in the small and lower-medium segments are the cheapest options under current purchase price premiums for EVs in Germany. Long-range electrified SUVs are more expensive than conventional SUVs. Contrary to the widespread view in current literature, EVs are not necessarily the most economical option in a 2030 scenario in our analysis. If taxes and incentives are neglected, BEVs and PHEVs become even less attractive. This highlights the importance of carefully designed energy and vehicle taxes and purchase incentives for a successful market diffusion of EVs.