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NPF highlights

Download the full NPF documents:

English translation: germany npf.en.pdf

Original language: germany npf.pdf

Download the National Implementation Report 2019:

Germany NIR

NPF highlights and 2019 NPF reporting on implementation highlights

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) as well as the 2019 Reporting by the Member States on the NPF implementation.

According to Art. 10(1) of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, each Member State shall submit to the European Commission a report on the implementation of its National Policy Framework on a tri-annual basis, and for the first time by or before 18 November 2019. Those Reports must contain a description of the measures taken in the reporting Member State in support of alternative fuels infrastructure build-up. An overview of the Reports notified by [Member State] and received by the Commission to date is provided here below (download section), including an English translation where applicable.

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 biofuels or synthetic fuels. The highlights are extracts from the NPF documents. These highlights should not be considered summaries of the NPFs. For a full and  complete overview, we  advise to read the NPF documents


Highlights 2019 Reporting on the NPF implementation 

The Federal Government is pursuing a technology-neutral approach for the promotion of alternative drivetrains. The most energy-efficient and climate-friendly option should prevail for the respective requirement.

The NPF update provides a details overview of the measures taken by the Federal Government between 2016 and 20193 to promote the research, demonstration and roll-out of alternative fuels and the related drivetrains and infrastructure. In addition to the individual measures, the policy strategies and frame- work programmes of the Federal Government are listed, each of them supporting and consolidating a wide range of individual measures.

An example is the continuous enhancement of the Mobility and Fuels Strategy. It provides an over- view of the different technologies and fuel options that are available for the abatement of emissions in the different modes of transport. Individual funding measures provide support to alternative drivetrains, ranging from academic assessment in the form of studies through model demonstration projects to market development.

The Market Incentive Programme for Electric Mobility, which was adopted in 2016, combines a number of measures to stimulate electric mobility in a targeted manner in the key application field of passenger cars. In 2017, substantive additional funds were provided through the 2017-2020 Immediate Action Programme for Clean Air to support air pollution control in municipalities. Many of the measures will also contribute to achieving the climate change goals. In the field of research and development, in addition to specific programmes for key technologies, broad-based research programmes are being carried out where alternative fuels are considered as a specific aspect of the transformation of the energy system – one example is the energy research programmes of the Federal Government. Not only innovative technologies, but also approaches to mobility are addressed in this context. In this regard, the “Sustainable urban mobility” research agenda must be mentioned, which takes account of technological and social innovations in a combined way and involves all relevant stakeholders.

Electricity: Between 2016 and 2018 considerable progress was made in the charging infrastructure deployed and in the number of vehicles in operation. In order to give greater impetus to the market ramp-up phase, both the Federal Government and the federal states have put comprehensive funding programmes in place. The focus here is on deploying publicly accessible normal power and high power charging stations and on granting subsi- dies for the purchase of private and commercial vehicles and infrastructure. In addition, as a result of the federal states’ measures, the changeover of local authority fleets to alternative fuels and, in particular, to battery-electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell-powered vehicles is being accelerated through public procurement programmes or through the adaptation of public procurement guidelines. When large bus fleets are converted, in particular the supply of electric bus routes and networks is a major challenge because the characteristics of the local authorities’ transport network play a key role for the system design and different charging strategies – centralised, decentralised or fixed-line – are available. The Federal Government is supporting this planning within the framework of the respective funding programmes. Currently, trolley buses operate in three German municipalities (Eberswalde, Esslingen and Solingen); other local authorities are examining this option, too. The market introduction of battery electric heavy goods vehicles has started, although the demonstration stage has not yet been completed. The Federal Government is also supporting three field trials dealing with the deployment, authorization and operation of infrastructure for HGVs with trolley assist. In Hesse, a section of the A5 has been equipped with catenaries. Since the end of 2018, the first test journeys have taken place here. The test tracks on the A1 in Schleswig-Holstein and B 462 in Baden-Württemberg are to enter into service in the course of 2019 or 2020.

The deployment of stationary shore-side electricity systems at inland and sea ports as well as on waterways is continuously progressing, too. Within the reporting period, shore-side electricity systems were in operation at the following sea ports: Travemünde-Lübeck (since 2008), cruise terminal in Hamburg Altona (since 2016), Cuxhaven (since 2018). In addition, there are planning concepts for the following sites: Norwegenkai ferry and cruise terminal in Kiel (under construction), Schwedenkai ferry terminal and cruise terminal at the Ostseekai in Kiel (both planned for 2020), Rostock port (planned for 2020), Hamburg Hafencity cruise terminal (planned for 2022).

Hydrogen: The market ramp-up for the introduction of hydrogen fuel cell drivetrains in the passenger car segment is at the beginning. More than 50 % of the initial network of 100 public hydrogen refuelling points has already been deployed. However, the availability of vehicles is still a major obstacle to this drivetrain type. The introduction of hydrogen fuel cell drivetrains for heavy goods vehicles is at the research and development stage

Natural gas (CNG): Since 2016, the use of CNG for passenger cars has remained at roughly the same level, both for refuelling stations as well as for vehicles. As the technology has matured and refuelling stations are available, no further measures apart from the temporary energy tax relief will be taken. 

Natural gas (LNG): The changeover of heavy goods vehicle traffic to alternative fuels is still at the beginning of the market ramp-up phase. The establishment of LNG has already entered the market ramp-up phase. Today, seven publicly accessible LNG refuelling points are in operation. As serial production vehicles are already available, an increase of the vehicle fleet can be expected soon. 

In both maritime shipping and inland waterway transport, the focus is currently on the introduction of LNG as a marine fuel and on the upgrading of shore-side power supply with the aim of improving air quality. The market roll-out of LNG-powered vessels is about to begin. The 2015 National Ports Strategy and the 2019 Inland Waterway Transport Masterplan form the strategic framework for the use of alternative fuels. In the reporting period, no stationary LNG bunkering stations were in use in the German inland waterway and maritime sector. The supply is provided by trucks (truck to ship); for the future, a supply by bunkering vessels (ship to ship) is foreseen, too. As far as the Federal Government knows, truck to ship bunkering has already been performed at the following seaports: Bremerhaven, Brunsbüttel, Cuxhaven, Emden, Hamburg, Lübeck, Rostock, Sassnitz (Rügen). The establishment of an LNG distribution network along the German Rhine is currently being pushed forward by private companies. Starting in 2019, 14 stations are planned to open; some of them can also be used for the refuelling of trucks. 


Highlights 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).