Headline: Greening the car? Conflict dynamics within the german platform for electric mobility

The environmental crisis due to air pollution, high CO2 emissions, noise from traffic and soil ceiling requires profound changes to the car-dependent transport system. This article examines the political dynamics of German transport politics, focusing on the National Platform for Electric Mobility (NPE), a high-level political forum that aimed to accelerate the run-up of the electric mobility market in Germany. The NPE provides an interesting case to study the strategies of stakeholders in influencing policy-making and shaping alternative pathways to the car-centered transport system. The paper focusses on actor constellations and the conflicts that arise within the NPE, as well as the temporal dynamics within the electric mobility debate. The findings suggest that the NPE contributed to a narrow understanding of mobility transformation based on road transport and electric cars, but that it is better described as ecological modernization. Within this narrow framework, a fundamental conflict unfolds between strong advocates versus those slowing down the ecological modernization of the car. A third group demands at least a partial departure from the automobile-centered model but remains marginalized within the NPE. Aside from this core conflict, members of the NPE struggled over the location for battery cell production, the introduction of a purchase grant known as the environmental bonus, and the expansion of battery recharging infrastructure. These issues illustrate that discussions within the NPE relate to the political debates about the future of mobility, which have intensified in Germany in recent years. However, the case of the NPE shows that high-level stakeholder platforms are not an adequate forum to legitimately deliberate and to practically contribute to a wider and more fundamental rethink of future mobility concepts.

Publication Year
Publication Type
Academic Articles

Richter, I., & Haas, T. (2020). Greening the car? Conflict dynamics within the german platform for electric mobility. Sustainability, 12(19): 8043, pp. 1-19. doi:10.3390/su12198043.

Staff involved
Projects involved
Social Transformation and Policy Advice in Lusatia Democratic Governance for Ecopolitical Transformations