ACEA study finds cost still strong deterrent for EV uptake across Europe; calls for “realistic” targets recognizing affordability
A new study by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) finds that the affordability of electric cars remains a strong deterrent for customers across the EU, along with lack of infrastructure and lack of investment in infrastructure.
The analysis, which compares national data on the market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs) with GDP per capita, shows that the market share of ECVs is close to 0% in countries with a GDP below €18,000 (~US$21,000), while it is no more than 0.75% in half of all EU member states.
The European Parliament’s Committees on industry (ITRE) and transport (TRAN) will vote on the European Commission’s proposal for future car and van CO2 targets on 10 July. ACEA cautions that the targets must be realistic, taking into account what people can actually afford to buy.
The European Parliament mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the market is essentially driven by customers. A natural shift to electric vehicles will simply not happen without addressing consumer affordability.—Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General
Besides affordability, the report identified a balanced supply of charging and refueling infrastructure as a pre-requisite for stronger sales of alternatively-powered vehicles across the EU.
The study found that of the roughly 100,000 charging points available today, 76% are concentrated in just four countries (the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK). On the other end of the spectrum, a country such as Romania—roughly six times bigger than the Netherlands—only has 114 charging points.
The Commission has proposed a ‘benchmark’ for the sales of full battery-electric cars at the level of 15% by 2025, and 30% by 2030. To put this in context, pure battery-electric cars accounted for just 0.7% of total EU car sales in 2017.
Electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs)—battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles—accounted for 1.5% of total car sales in the EU; the market share of ECVs grew by 0.9 percentage points between 2014 and 2017.
At the current pace of growth, the market share would be 3.9% by 2025 and 5.4% by 2030, ACEA said.
We are worried that some policy makers have completely unrealistic expectations regarding the pace of market development. Already with the Commission’s current proposal for a benchmark, we would need to jump from less than 1% of battery electric car sales today to 30% in the space of less than 12 years. And the Parliament is proposing even more aggressive targets, going as far as 50%.—Erik Jonnaert
The new ACEA data not only show a clear split in electric car sales between Central-Eastern and Western Europe, but also a pronounced North-South divide (eg Greece 0.2%, Italy 0.2% and Spain 0.6%). By contrast, an ECV market share of above 1.8% only occurs in countries with a GDP of more than €35,000.
MEPs should not forget the impact on people: a forced push for electrification could lead to social exclusion in many EU countries, reducing the mobility of people who need it the most.—Erik Jonnaert
In order to compensate for this highly fragmented market, more than 50% of all new cars sold in Western Europe would have to be battery electric in order to reach an EU-wide average benchmark of 30% by 2030, as proposed by the Commission.
The auto industry is eager to move as fast as it can towards zero-emission vehicles. There is no doubt that this is the future. But to get there, customers must be convinced that this is the best choice for them; both in terms of affordability as well as convenience. A natural shift in the market will not happen without addressing these barriers.—ACEA report
ACEA represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.