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Electric Vehicle Sales Are Exploding In Europe

Tsvetana Paraskova

The next two years are likely to be the tipping point for electric vehicles (EVs) going mainstream in Europe, as the number of electric car models on the European market is set to more than triple in the next three years, Transport & Environment (T&E), Europe’s leading clean transport campaign group, says in a new analysis

According to T&E, which analyzed the upcoming offerings using data from authoritative industry source IHS Markit, the number of EV models made across the European Union (EU) will jump from around 60 models available at end-2018 to a total of 214 battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and fuel cell (FCEV) models in 2021, and further up to 333 models in 2025.

“Until recently, the EV market was limited to a niche of early adopters but tomorrow’s landscape will be very different as EVs enter a new phase and near the mass market,” the report from T&E says.

Based on IHS Markit’s light vehicle production forecast data and in-house T&E analysis, the production of EVs in Europe is set to surge six-fold between 2019 and 2025, reaching more than 4 million cars and vans. This production volume would account more than a fifth of the EU car production volumes.

EV manufacturing will be replacing diesel-fueled car making across Europe, with the largest production sites in western Europe—Germany, France, Spain, and Italy, T&E’s analysis shows. In central and eastern Europe, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary are also expected to be significant EV production centers.

EV production volumes forecasts for the UK are currently highly uncertain because electric car manufacturing growth could easily be reversed in a no-deal Brexit scenario, according to the analysis.  

All major European carmakers, including Germany’s Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler, France’s PSA, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance are expected to roll out a number of EVs in Europe. Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and Tesla will also offer new models in Europe by 2025, the report showed.

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“Thanks to the EU car CO2 standards, Europe is about to see a wave of new, longer range, and more affordable electric cars hit the market. That is good news but the job is not yet done. We need governments to help roll out EV charging at home and at work, and we need changes to car taxation to make electric cars even more attractive than polluting diesels, petrols or poor plug-in hybrid vehicles,” Lucien Mathieu, transport and e-mobility analyst at T&E, said.

“This is a pivotal moment for Europe’s automotive industry,” Mathieu added, noting that carmakers are investing a combined US$163 billion (145 billion euro) in electrification, and “battery making is finally coming to Europe.”

“We need to send a clear signal to industry that there is no way back, and agree a phase-out of petrol and diesel car sales in cities, at national and EU level. The age of the combustion engine is coming to an end,” Mathieu concluded.  

Sales of EVs in Europe are growing, and the undisputed leader in terms of market penetration is Norway, which is not a member of the EU.

For the first time ever, EV sales in Norway in March outstripped sales of gasoline and diesel cars combined, confirming the Nordic country’s undisputed global leadership in EV market share. The nearly 60-percent record EV market share in March was driven by two key factors—Norway’s consistent government policies in incentivizing purchases of zero-emission cars and a record number of Tesla Model 3 deliveries in March.

Norway may have a population of just 5.3 million people, but it is an important market for all EV makers, especially for Tesla. This importance is also recognized by Elon Musk who retweeted with heart emoticons Norway’s sales numbers for March.  

In the United States, the absolute number of EV sales is still tiny compared to the overall market. Yet new registrations of fully EVs in the United States hit a record 208,000 cars in 2018, more than double the new registrations in 2017, IHS Markit said in an analysis earlier this year.

The EV market will grow in the United States and in the world, the analysis says, but adds that one thing is clear: “the internal combustion engine is not going away any time soon, with IHS Markit forecasters anticipating them to continue to dominate the global market until past 2030.”  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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