BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to speed up Germany’s transition to electric vehicles, saying in an interview on Wednesday that efforts would need to be increased if a target of having a million such cars on the roads by 2020 were to be met.
With Germany’s largest industry struggling to mend its reputation after a diesel emissions scandal, Merkel said comments she had made in May had been misinterpreted as meaning she had abandoned the electrification target.
“I haven’t abandoned the target,” she said in the interview on YouTube, six weeks before a federal election.
“It’s simply that we must do more, otherwise we won’t reach the goal.”
More work needed to be done to quickly build a network of car battery charging stations across the country, including retro-fitting them to street lamps and in car parks, she said in the interview.
Merkel said she would invite local governments to a meeting on Sept. 4 to discuss toxic emissions. Some 500 million euros ($585.65 million) or more would be made available to a planned fund to improve urban transport infrastructure, she said.
Merkel also expressed concern about whether auto companies were sufficiently innovative in the right areas.
Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Paul Carrel; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Andrew Bolton