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Learning English - Words in the News
18 May, 2011 - Published 16:06 GMT
Germany to invest in more electric cars
Germany's Economy Minister Philipp Roesler poses in an electric car
Germany's Economy Minister Philipp Roesler poses in an electric car

The German government has approved more money to help companies that build electric cars. There are only around 2,500 electric vehicles registered on German roads at present. The plan is to increase this figure to a million by 2020. Stephen Evans reports:

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Germany plans to double financial aid, particularly to develop better, lighter batteries, which remain the brake on the technology's mass appeal. Cars which emit virtually no carbon dioxide will be exempt from tax.

Despite its green reputation, Germany has been slower than other countries, like Japan, to develop electric cars.

It now aims to change this, but attitudes may be hard to change. It is a country where 'no speed limits on the motorway' is seen as sacrosanct.

And it is the country of the BMW (car), though the luxury car-maker is now trying to develop lighter materials to make its vehicles greener.

Stephen Evans, BBC News, Berlin

Listen to the words

financial aid
help by giving money

the brake on
the drawback or negative aspect of

mass appeal
widespread popularity

lets out or sends out

not required to do something

green reputation
known for its commitment to environmentally-friendly policies

to develop
to design and manufacture

speed limits
maximum speeds at which you are allowed to or can legally drive on different roads

considered so important that it cannot be changed

equipment and substances which are used to make things

To take away
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