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German government backpedals on e-cars

The German government has signaled it no longer expects to see 1 million electric cars on the road by 2020. Facing sluggish growth in the sector, Berlin instead just hopes to be "a leading market."

The German government is backpedaling from its stated goal of having

1 million electric cars on the road here by 2020

, a leading newspaper reported Tuesday, citing a murky response from the Economy Ministry to an inquiry by the Green party.

Berlin had originally aimed for there to be 100,000 electric cars in use by 2014 and 1 million by 2020. That target was cemented in coalition negotiations in 2013 but missed by a long shot last year.

As the Greens requested more information about how the government hoped to achieve its long-term goals, the economy ministry responded: "The Federal Government has set itself the goal of Germany being a leading provider and a leading market by 2020."

There are currently around 30,000 electric cars in use in Germany.

Berlin distances itself

The Green had asked whether the government still thought its ambitions were realistic and requested specific information as to how Berlin intended to promote

the proliferation of electric cars

on German streets.

The answer from the Economy Ministry, which is controlled by the German Co-Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat, was short on concrete details, according to the daily newspaper "Die Welt."

"To ensure positive development with production and value added on site, the Federal Government has taken numerous measures," the response read.

Electric cars make up about 0.07 percent of

all certified vehicles in Germany

, according to a study published last month by a German research institute. A 65.4 percent on-year rise in 2014 in the number of new vehicle certifications was enough to earn the country seventh place in the institute's global ranking.

Norway came in first, where the number of e-cars rose by 113 percent in a year. There 43,400 electric cars made up 1.6 percent of all certified vehicles.

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