Sales Of Electric Cars Double Across Europe
According to a report by campaign group, Transport & Environment (T&E), sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in the EU more than doubled between 2012 and 2013, rising from 22,000 to more than 50,000.
According to a report by campaign group, Transport & Environment (T&E), sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in the EU more than doubled between 2012 and 2013, rising from 22,000 to more than 50,000. It is an impressive rise but EVs still account for only a tiny minority of the cars sold in Europe, making up just one in 250 new cars sold. The increase in sales was boosted by the arrival of three new models, the Renault Zoe, Mitsubishi Outlander and Volvo V60. The Renault Zoe represents a substantial price breakthrough, costing just £14,000 after the £5,000 UK Government subsidy is taken into account. The Outlander costs £28,250 and the Volvo V60 a whopping £44,275, both after the subsidy has been subtracted. Sales data showed that these three models accounted for almost half of all EV sales in Europe, selling around 8,000 units each.
EVs remain a central part of the Government’s strategy to combat climate change and air pollution but major car manufacturers have lobbied governments hard in an attempt to slow and water down emissions legislation.
According to T&E spokesman, Greg Archer, high prices remain a barrier to the uptake of EVs. He said: “Electric cars are growing strongly, but at the same time the simple truth is that they are too expensive for most people to consider. But the price will come down over time and we will see this technology start to compete. This is a revolution and it will take some time to happen. The hype that surrounded electric vehicles back in 2010 was never going to be delivered.”
Sales of the best selling EVs from 2102, the Peugeot Citroen iON or C-Zero and Opel Ampera, both declined sharply. According to Archer, this was due to the improved technology in the newer cars and also more innovative purchasing packages, where the use of a conventionally fuelled car for some longer journeys is rolled into the deal. This is particularly useful in overcoming the ‘range anxiety’ experienced by potential purchasers.
Mr Archer went on to say that the vehicle subsidies such as those offered by the UK Government were not sustainable in the longer term. He suggested that cuts to the overall emissions level for the range of cars produced by each manufacturer would be more effective in promoting the sale of zero emissions cars. Standard cars are responsible for emitting some 15% of CO2 in Europe. The EU has already introduced fleet emissions targets for 2015 and these were actually achieved by 2013. There is now agreement on a lower level for 2021 but the consultation on the limits proposed for 2025 and 2030 has now been postponed. According to Archer, the car industry is resisting these changes. He said: “The car industry is certainly pushing back very hard against setting new emissions standards.” The big German brands, such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes, are thought to be particularly vocal in their opposition to new lower limits and the German government has joined them in resisting the changes.
Politics is always an issue in such matters and in 2013 Angela Merkel and David Cameron were accused of agreeing a secret deal, where the UK would support German lobbying on behalf of its car manufacturers in return for Germany’s support for protection for the UK’s vital financial sector. In the US, meanwhile, President Barack Obama has set out targets for cleaner American cars, beginning in 2017.
In London, Mayor Boris Johnson last week announced new measures to punish diesel vehicles. The capital has been experiencing illegal levels of air pollution and much of this is thought to be due to noxious emissions from diesel cars. Johnson has proposed a doubling of the congestion charge for diesel cars, which are far more polluting than their petrol counterparts. EVs will play a big part in reducing air pollution in UK cities but perhaps not for a while. Archer concludes: “Electric cars are a big part of solving the air pollution in cities. But we will not see large numbers of electric cars on the roads for a decade, so we need to see other steps as well.”