German gov't courts BMW in bid to speed up green transition

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck began a charm offensive targeting major industrial companies and regional leaders this week as the government tries to accelerate its plan to cut emissions and meet elusive climate change goals.

Habeck visited a BMW factory in Munich on 20 January after touring an Airbus SE facility near Hamburg.

The stops underscore that slashing emissions from transport will be one of the biggest challenges facing Germany's new coalition government.

The tour comes a week after Habeck said the country needs to triple the speed of its emissions reductions to transform Europe's biggest economy into a climate neutral state by 2045.

Meanwhile, companies like BMW are looking to Habeck to help spur more government spending to pick up the pace in the transformation.

"It's a task with gigantic dimensions," Habeck said on 18 January. "Not a day should be wasted."

The European Union in 2021 proposed an effective ban on new combustion-engine cars from 2035, adding urgency to the electric model rollouts of the continent's automakers that include BMW, Volkswagen Group and Daimler. 

At BMW, Habeck is likely to hear more about the need for Germany to dramatically increase infrastructure to push the transition to electric vehicles.

The new German government has said it wants 1m public charging points by 2030, the majority of which it wants to be fast charging points. There are currently just over 50,000 public charging stations in Germany, and only 7,700 of those are fast charging points.

The three-way coalition of centre-left Social Democrats, environmental Greens and business-friendly Liberals plans to have at least 15m full-electric vehicles on Germany's roads by the end of the decade. So far, only 670,000 pure EVs drive on Germany's roads, accounting for just over 1% of the nation's fleet.