Opel is insisting it is not disappointed by this week's German government decision not to directly subsidise the introduction of electric vehicles.

German chancellor Angela Merkel revealed that instead of direct grants to purchasers of electric vehicles - in the way France and the UK, for example, have pledged - that a series of incentives including tax relief worth EUR1bn (US$1.4bn) would be made available up to 2020.

''I was not disappointed with the German government because we need to see the financial opportunities we have in Germany with the budget," newly-appointed Opel CEO Karl-Friedrich Stracke told just-auto today in Berlin (19 May) on the sidelines of this year's Challenge Bibendum sustainability event.

"Merkel said we will revisit our decision in one year's time, depending on sales of vehicles. The NPE [Nationale Plattform Elektromobilität] was very pleased with the outcome and I am part of the NPE."

The NPE has decreed it wants 1m vehicles on German roads by 2020 while the country's MeRegio research programme devoted to renewable energies, also has a dedicated electric vehicle remit among its duties.

"Here in Germany at least, there will be no subsidies for cars but tax relief and for fleet management, very specific tax relief," said Stracke. ''

''We will see a variation around European countries - France will subsidise from the start [for example]. We have to see electric vehicles as they come out of the chute, there is still a cost disadvantage of around EUR9,000 versus gasoline."

Opel's extended range Ampera is due in European showrooms later this year and, despite not benefiting from direct German subsidies, Stracke remains confident the model will enter mainstream consciousness.

"The purpose of the Ampera is really to produce a production automobile that can be used as a primary vehicle," Stracke said.