But its cancellation was sudden, the Ministry of Economy announced it with specific dates only last weekend, which caused criticism. Since 2016, when Germany started with the bonus, it has paid out about ten billion euros (CZK 245 billion) in subsidies.

Germany has already significantly reduced support since January this year, when it stopped covering cars with a hybrid drive and was narrowed down to purely electric cars. The highest contribution since January was EUR 4,500 (CZK 110,000) instead of the previous EUR 6,000 (CZK 147,000). The key condition was that the car had to cost less than 40,000 euros (980,000 CZK) according to the net list price. Nevertheless, even owners of more expensive cars were entitled to support, as long as the car did not cost more than 65,000 euros (1.6 million CZK). In this case, they received 3,000 euros (CZK 73,500) from this January. But that’s over now.

“After December 17, 2023, no new applications for the environmental bonus can be submitted to the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA),” the Ministry of Economy announced on Saturday. “It no longer applies to the promised support, the money will be paid,” it added.

The economy ministry said the government decided to cancel the bonus after the Constitutional Court verdict in November, which plunged the country into a budget crisis. The court found that the government unconstitutionally transferred 60 billion euros (1.47 trillion CZK) to the climate fund, so it must not use this money. Tens of billions of euros were suddenly missing from the state coffers. The lack of money for this year was solved by the government with a budget amendment, which was approved by the parliament on Friday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s cabinet has already agreed on the revised budget for 2024, which the deputies will probably approve at the beginning of January. In all likelihood, Germany will therefore manage with a budget provisional for a few days in the new year.

The opposition conservative union CDU/CSU has criticized the sudden end of state support, as it will lead to a further slowdown in already stagnant sales of electric cars. The parliamentary faction of the Social Democracy (SPD) also has reservations, which called on the Minister of Economy for the Greens, Robert Habeck, to end support less radically.

But the Ministry of Economy said that the funds have already run out and that the economic plan for drawing money from the climate fund for the coming year must be revised.

The last option to apply for a subsidy was to submit an application by midnight from Sunday to Monday. The condition was that the car must be registered for operation. The Ministry of Economy announced the decision to end support on Saturday, so the only way was to electronically register the car, according to Focus magazine. The magazine also said that despite the cuts, electric car owners can save as they are exempt from motor vehicle tax until the end of 2030. This will apply to electric cars registered by December 2025.

The Ministry of Economy evaluates the ending program as very successful. It said that since 2016, when the environmental bonus started, about ten billion euros (245 billion CZK) have been paid out in support for about 2.1 million electric cars, including hybrids.

The bonus served as one of the big incentives to meet the goal of driving 15 million fully electric cars in Germany by 2030. According to some analysts, this plan is in jeopardy, but Scholz, after a November meeting with representatives of car companies, said that he continues to count on it as feasible.

According to the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority (KBA), there were one million purely electric cars in Germany on January 1 of this year, which at the time corresponded to roughly two percent of vehicles in operation. From January to the end of November, KBA registered over 469,000 newly registered fully electric cars. Among newly registered cars this year, battery cars have a share of 18 percent.

In the Czech Republic, the situation is significantly different. Electric cars make up only about three percent of new car sales, and their total number exceeds 20,000 cars. Until now, the state has only supported the acquisition of electric and hydrogen vehicles for offices and public institutions, only this year at the beginning of December it issued a call for support for the acquisition of these vehicles for companies in a total volume of almost two billion crowns. Private individuals are still unable to obtain any support for the purchase of electric cars, so one of the few advantages remains the possibility of free parking in residential zones.