The European Commission has found German plans to support the purchase of electric buses and related recharging infrastructure by public transport operators to be in line with EU state aid rules.
The scheme set up by the German government with a budget of €70 million will support public transport operators until the end of 2021.
Funding will cover the additional costs for the acquisition of electric and plug-in-hybrid buses rather than conventional diesel buses as well as the construction of the related electric charging infrastructure required for the operation of these buses.
The Commission considered that this public scheme incentivises bus operators to invest in this type of vehicle and in the necessary charging infrastructure.
The measure is expected to increase the number of electric buses in Germany and contribute to an overall reduction in CO2 and air pollutant emissions, in particular in cities.
In order to qualify for support, public transport operators must ensure that their electric and plug-in hybrid buses are operated with electricity from renewable sources.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This scheme is another positive example of how to fight global warming. In line with the EU environmental goals, it will give public transport operators an incentive to invest in low or zero emissions vehicles with the clear objective of reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality.â€?
The measure is also in line with the European Strategy for low-emission mobility, and its support for the move towards zero-emission vehicles in cities and for creating a market for such vehicles.
On this basis, the Commission concluded that the contribution to EU environmental goals of the scheme outweighs any potential distortion of competition brought about by the public financing and has approved it under the EU State aid rules.