Despite the Dieselgate crisis buffeting the German automotive sector and the introduction of generous government incentives, electric vehicle (EV) demand has failed to take off. Furthermore, the findings of a new study by Ferdinand Dudenhöffer of the Centre for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen reveal that the established trend for more powerful cars has not been derailed and ‘Germans remain intoxicated by horsepower’. Mr Dudenhöffer has calculated that between January and September 2016, even diesel cars sold had an average power output of 163PS, compared to an average of 160PS for the whole of 2015. For petrol cars, average output has climbed from 129PS in 2015 to 135PS in the first nine months of 2015, and for all vehicles the average is now 148PS, up from 126PS a decade ago and just 98PS 20 years ago. Company cars understandably have higher average power outputs than those bought by private consumers but the thirst for more power is universal and Dudenhöffer adds that ‘it is almost certain that the psychological barrier of 150PS per new car will be exceeded in 2017’.As even the emissions scandal and incentives for greener cars are not arresting the trend for ever-more powerful cars in Germany, these new findings will add further weight to the hotly-debated proposal by the Green party for a ban on all fossil-fuelled cars from 2030. However, this news should also lend support to positive initiatives such as the development of a fast-charging network in Europe and plans for every new home in Germany to have a charging point for EVs. With the financial benefits alone not enticing consumers to purchase EVs, initiatives such these are crucial in weaning consumers off their taste for horsepower and, ultimately, fossil fuels.
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