Birgit Jennen:

currently far off from reaching her target, is aiming to keep the country’s auto industry — home to Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, VW and BMW — competitive. In total, just over 30,000 electric cars had been registered in Germany, which has historically leaned on diesel technology to reduce emissions. Other countries such as France, Norway and the United States have had greater success with electrics because of the rebates and tax breaks they offer. Last year alone, nearly 26,000 electric cars were sold in much smaller Norway.
 “If we don’t get the market going here, then the vehicles will remain expensive,” Gabriel — who heads Merkel’s junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats — said last month. “We won’t get here in Germany what we want, namely the industrial battery production.”
 Gabriel’s solution is to follow the path of other countries and offer about 5,000 euros in incentives per car through 2020 to get the ball rolling. Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer, whose state is home to Audi and BMW, emerged as an ally last week when came out in support of such a program as well. Seehofer, who heads the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, has been the chancellor’s chief antagonist in the coalition’s dispute over migrants, threatening a lawsuit if he didn’t get his way.