Germany Pledges 1 Million Electric Cars By 2020

German Chancellor and top executives of the country's main carmakers and energy companies are meeting in Berlin to launch a new initiative to develop electric vehicles.

BERLIN (AP) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and executives from the country's automakers and energy companies launched a plan Monday to put 1 million electric cars on the roads by 2020.

The so-called "National Platform for Electric Mobility" comes as Merkel pledged to have 1 million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020.

Merkel said the aim was to have one out of every 45 cars be electric-powered within 10 years, saying there was need to develop more sustainable technology and rely less on fossil fuels. The government, however, has not committed any new funding to support their development.

BMW AG's chief executive Norbert Reithofer said Germany was well positioned to become a leader in that market.

"To make this happen, our leaders in politics and industry have to be pulling in the same direction," he said.

Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn asked for more funding to support the development of electric vehicles and the necessary infrastructure.

The government should "proactively support the introduction of new technologies," Winterkorn said. He called on the government to create a network of recharging stations across the country.

"Both of these components -- state-funded incentives and infrastructure -- are crucial and cannot endure any delay," he said.

Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer said it was premature to raise the question of subsidies. New vehicles should be popular enough to attract customers on their own, German news agency DAPD quoted him as saying.

German opposition parties dismissed the government's initiative as a mere show.

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