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EVs gaining traction across globe but decisive action needed

The commentary comes as part of the report on “Caution: Blind Curves Ahead: The AlixPartners Global Automotive Outlook” by the global business-advisory firm.

The firm said the cause for EVs remains in place, with air pollution still a serious problem in many urban areas and the fight against climate change getting out of control. It adds that consumers are very positive towards environmentally friendly products if they can afford them.

Although the 180,000 EVs sold in 2012 only represented 0.2% of the market, growth of the segment is strong. In 2013 EV sales doubled, with 405,000 units sold, capturing 0.5% of worldwide car sales. As of 2013, the five top selling EV models all came from Japanese or US manufacturers and captured over one third of the EV market while European manufacturers hardly played a role.

The massive battery costs and range trade-off in combination with an inadequately developed infrastructure currently make EVs economically unattractive to rational buyers who do not fall for the environmental image or for the quiet and powerful electric drivetrains alone. This will not change unless there is a huge breakthrough in battery technology.

‘Most nations pay EV lip service but do not act decisively. Targets like Germany’s one million EVs by 2020 are unlikely to be achieved absent of governmental investments in EV infrastructure and economics,’ said the firm’s Stefano Aversa. ‘Good examples are Holland and Norway, where EV sales have already reached an over 6% share of sales.’

Europe also needs to catch up on the technology side. ‘The most significant lag of the Europeans is their absence in battery technology,’ said Aversa. ‘The battery today accounts for 35-40% of the total value of an EV, and all major suppliers are from Asia.’

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.

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