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Environmental bonus and innovation premium at the end

According to the plans of the Federal Ministry of Economics, the state subsidy for the purchase of plug-in hybrids is to expire at the end of 2022. The ministry also wants to gradually reduce the funding for electric cars.

"We want to sharpen the focus in the future promotion of e-cars and focus more on climate protection," says Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck. "In our opinion, plug-in hybrids are marketable and no longer need public funding," said the Green politician to the Funke media group. According to a letter from Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Kellner to members of the traffic light coalition, funding for PHEVs will end on December 31, 2022. Subsidies for these vehicles depending on the electric mileage would have led to "disproportionately high effort" and was therefore rejected."

Habeck's proposal not yet coordinated

Originally, according to the coalition agreement, the funding should be reformed from 2023 to the effect that it should only apply to vehicles that have been proven to have a positive climate protection effect. The proportion of electric driving and the minimum electric range would have been decisive for this. This minimum range would then have been 80 kilometers and in future PHEV users should prove that they have tax advantages in order to use tax advantages Operate PHEV mainly in electric mode. These specifications now seem to be waste, but the initiative by Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck still has to be coordinated within the government coalition.

The subsidy rates for purely electric vehicles should, as in the coalition agreement between the SPD, the FDP and the Greens agreed to be gradually reduced from January 1st, 2023 to 2025. "Beyond the end of 2025, the innovation premium is no longer required," the paper says. Accordingly, buyers of electric cars will no longer have any state subsidies from 2026. The taxpayer is currently subsidizing the purchase of the Stromer with the environmental bonus and since June 2020 with the aforementioned innovation bonus. That's 3,000 euros each. In addition, there is a further 3,000 euros from the respective manufacturer. For electric cars with a list price of less than 40,000 euros, the total funding is currently 9,000 euros (for more expensive vehicles there is a maximum of 7,500 euros). An expiry date of December 31, 2025 has already been decided for the environmental bonus.

Associations criticize Habeck's plan

For the buyers of electric cars, there is a certain planning security, even though the delivery times for electric cars are currently extremely long and the purchase may take place after January 1st, 2023. In this case, customers have to reckon with a reduced premium. But anyone who had built on the cash injection for a PHEV could now fall flat on their face.As Jürgen Karpinski, President of the Central Association of the German Motor Trade, criticized in advance, the uncertainty caused by the funding requirements is great. Because the delivery difficulties could put a spanner in the works for many customers if the PHEV funding remains linked to the registration date. He called for "the bonus to be linked very quickly to the order date".

The fact that from 2023 there will probably no longer be any money for the PHEV will only worsen the situation. Especially when you consider that some of the cars now have a range of more than 100 kilometers. These are dimensions in which electric cars were still moving not so long ago.

Therefore, VDA President Hildegard Müller also criticizes Habeck's plan: The consideration "endangers the ramp-up of e-mobility in an already tense time and ignores the realities of life of consumers in Germany". In her view, PHEVs pave the way for the switch, especially with a view to the charging infrastructure that is still to be expanded. Reinhard Zirpel, President of the Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK), has a similar view of the situation. He also sees "the trust that was created by the agreements in the coalition agreement permanently destroyed".

PHEV customers pay more

Apart from that, interested parties now have to adjust to the higher costs for PHEV. The fact that the bridging technology is the most expensive on average due to the two powertrains and the often more lavish basic equipment and more powerful engines is no longer a secret. But this is precisely why the funding was so decisive for its success. Whether the brands will adjust prices themselves and increase their discounts remains to be seen. Many did not want to comment on future pricing when asked without a political decision. However, a Ford spokesman predicts that "manufacturers will not be able to fully compensate for these effects".

At the political level, the SPD is, as expected, in line with Habeck's plans: "The climate contribution of PHEV is questionable, since the use of the electric drive cannot be proven," says Bernd Westphal, spokesman for the economy working group of the SPD parliamentary group. On the other hand, the opposition is surprised at the direction Habeck is taking. "I think that's wrong, and it goes against all the original announcements," says Bundestag member Thomas Bareiß (CDU). "There can't be a permanent subsidy. But the exit has to be sensibly organized."

Apparently no agreement within the coalition

It remains questionable whether the last word has already been spoken here - especially because there does not seem to be complete agreement in the coalition either: "Bridging technologies such as hybrids also help significantly in the

The new car exchange "Carwow" has created an up-to-date overview of the delivery times for plug-in hybrids. According to this, there are only a few PHEVs that can be delivered by a year.

, You can find out which vehicles are currently suitable for the ongoing funding program in our slide show at the top of the article. Are you interested in an electric car? Then you will find the best leasing bargains in private leasing here!


The purchase of electric cars is to be pushed with state subsidies. It is clear that these funds cannot be available forever. But the latest move by Federal Minister of Economics Habeck is a slap in the face to all customers who have relied on funding and will now get nothing in view of the long delivery times. Yes, PHEVs have been on the market for a long time, and yes, the positive climate protection effect of plug-in hybrids is manageable. Nevertheless, the models are a bridging technology to electromobility, they make the first contact with mobile electrification possible and reduce diffuse range fears.

Despite all the discussion about the pros and cons of PHEVs, a federal government must create planning security for the citizens. Should the funding actually expire on January 1st, 2023, the customers who have now ordered will need a new modus oprandi. Accordingly, the approval date may no longer apply. If politicians continue to act with smokescreens, also with regard to the unclear situation for purely electrically powered vehicles, they will choke off the ambitious e-mobility goals themselves.


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