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NPF highlights

Download the full NPF documents:

English translation: germany npf.en.pdf

Original language: germany npf.pdf


On this page, we provide relevant information on the topic of alternative fuels vehicles, infrastructure or support measures as provided in the National Policy Framework (NPF), in principle as an extract from the NPF, with some additions to give context where necessary. These highlights should not be considered summaries of the NPFs. For a full and  complete overview, we  advise to read the NPF document itself

The highlights for all National Policy Framework follow more or less the same structure: we first explain the modelling approach where one has been provided, we then explain the objectives or key focus areas of the NPF and then provide an overview of the key messages for those alternative fuels with distinct infrastructure requirements for which Member States had to develop national targets according to the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (electricity, hydrogen, LPG, CNG and LNG - therefore not covering for instance LPG, biofuels or synthetic fuels. 


NPF date of adoption: November 2016

“Without the swift deployment of high-capacity refuelling and charging infrastructure for alternative fuels, the transformation of the energy system in the transport sector will not succeed.” The Federal Government’s Mobility and Fuel Strategy, which was adopted by the Federal Cabinet in June 2013, is to be continued as a major tool for implementing the transformation of the energy system in the transport sector in line with the National Sustainable Development Strategy.

Electricity: The Federal Government's planning activities are complemented at federal state and local authority level. The activities of the federal states and local authorities are of great importance for achieving the targets and objectives, especially in the field of normal power charging, but also for high power charging facilities in public areas.

If all forms of transport are to be electrified, battery and fuel cell technology must be evolved. The Federal Government’s objective is to give all alternative fuels and drivetrains a chance on the market. Ultimately, it will be the users who decide which technology prevails. The Federal Government believes that it is basically up to the private sector to deploy alternative fuels infrastructure.

The aim is for there to be one million electrically powered vehicles operating on German roads by 2020. This aim includes battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell powered vehicles. For the foreseeable future, however, neither battery nor fuel cell technology will have evolved so far and be so competitive that they can also electrify demanding long-distance and heavy goods vehicle operations. Nor is the deployment of a wire-based solution (overhead wire) clearly conceivable at present. Company car fleets, in particular, constitute an important potential market segment for electric vehicles. 

The use of shore-side electricity can replace the use of fossil fuels for ships during layovers, thereby reducing emissions at ports. This is especially true if electricity from renewable sources is used. Shore-side electricity supply projects have already been implemented at the ports of Lübeck and Hamburg. Likewise, some berths on inland waterways have also been equipped with electric filling stations. In the Federal Government's opinion, the shore-side generation of electricity is to be considered as beneficial in principle. However, from an operational perspective and in the current environment, it can only be actually implemented in a few individual cases. According to information provided by the Association of German Airports, 95 percent of the existing gate stands at eleven German airports are equipped with ground power supply equipment. For the supply of ground power at remote stands, however, ground power units are available for only around 25 percent of the stands in 2016.

Hydrogen:In Germany, basic coverage is to be achieved by as early as 2020 through the deployment (irrespective of the number of vehicles) of at least 100 hydrogen refuelling points using 700 bar technology. Subsequently, there will be further development depending on trends in the actual vehicle population. The Federal Government is considering measures to improve the regulatory framework for the production of electricity-based hydrogen. A minimum rate of hydrogen generated without producing CO2 of 50 percent is already in place at the refuelling points that have been deployed. The target is a 100 percent rate. The use of hydrogen in inland waterway transport and maritime shipping is also being studied as part of the NIP lighthouse project entitled e4ships. Once the feasibility and cost efficiency have been demonstrated, the fuel cell systems are to be developed until they are commercially mature.

CNG: The Federal Government supports the objective, formulated in a dialogue between the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the automotive industry on 1 December 2015, of aspiring to have a natural gas share of around 4 percent in the energy mix of German road transport by 2020. To support the achievement of the 4 percent objective, the German automotive industry pledged to roll out further competitive natural gas powered vehicle models. Germany already has the minimum CNG refuelling point coverage required by the Directive. Measures for the deployment of further infrastructure are thus not necessary. Rather, measures will be considered that improve the commercial situation of the existing CNG refuelling points. According to information provided by the industry, a sizeable proportion of the CNG refuelling points are running at a loss.

LNG: More stringent environmental legislation, especially in the SECAs, means that LNG is of importance as an alternative fuel in the maritime sector. The picture is different in the road transport sector. Diesel goods vehicles can meet the current EURO standards. In addition, the incentive to use alternative drivetrains is still low, because of the existing cost disadvantage.

Initially only seaports will be the focus for the LNG bunkering infrastructure. Looking ahead to 2030, this target will be extended to cover inland ports. As far as the supply of LNG as a fuel in seaports and inland ports is concerned, the objective is to deploy an infrastructure that meets demand. Planning activities and authorization procedures for the construction of LNG bunkering stations are underway at various ports. Actual implementation is likely if the demand for LNG rises in sectors other than transport. The ports will have to join forces with the industry to deploy appropriate supply infrastructure. On the basis of what is known today this will be done predominantly in the form of mobile units (LNG containers or bunker barges).