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Europe: Industry says it can slash cost of electric cars

Just 4,500 electric cars are on the road today in Germany. By 2020, the government wants one million. Concerns about price and performance still abound. The robotics industry says it can help.

At the robotics expo in Munich, Automatica, a bunch of men stand around admiring a shiny white race car. It’s called the Alpha Silent Radical Force and it’s made by German manufacturer E-Wolf. This vehicle goes from 0 to 100 kilometers an hour in 3.7 seconds and, perhaps surprisingly, it’s one hundred percent electric.

“This car has amazing acceleration – it just goes to prove that our batteries and our electric motors are actually good enough already,” Dr Eric Maiser from the German engineering network VDMA told DW.
Unfortunately, the German car-buying public isn’t so convinced. According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), there are a little over 4,500 electric cars on the road right now in Germany. Three years ago, the German government said it wanted to have one million electric cars in use by the year 2020. Right now, that goal seems well out of reach.

So what’s the reason for the low sales? Some say that German consumers aren’t purchasing electric cars because of their strong support of the established car companies here.
“Not one of the big German manufacturers produces an electric car – that will happen at the earliest in 2013”, said automotive journalist, Ralf Carsten Schumacher.
Cost the main concern

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