EU market for electric cars highly fragmented, new data shows as Commission finalises CO2 proposal

Brussels, 31 October 2017 – The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has published new data demonstrating the correlation between the market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs) and both GDP and customer incentives. Based on these new findings, ACEA calls for an ambitious but more realistic approach to the electrification of Europe’s car fleet, just before the European Commission releases its proposal for post-2021 CO2 targets for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles next week.

ACEA’s new data shows that an ECV market share of above 1% only occurs in Western European countries with a GDP per capita of more than €30,000. By contrast, almost half of all EU member states have an ECV market share of 0.5% or lower. In fact, in countries with a GDP below €17,000 the market share remains close to zero – including the new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as crisis-torn Greece. Affordability is clearly a major barrier.

“Our data demonstrates that, even though it is growing, the European market for ECVs remains extremely patchy, which makes it difficult to envisage anything like an EU-wide mandate or crediting system,” stated ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert.

“Many people take the Norwegian market as a benchmark. But just like its €64,000 GDP, more than twice the EU average, Norway’s ECV share of 29% is an exception in Europe. Nobody looks at Greece for instance, where only 32 electrically-chargeable cars were sold last year,” Jonnaert explained. “This should be a wake-up call for policy makers. Future decarbonisation measures should be inclusive, rather than assuming that all countries are in the same position as a handful of advanced ECV markets”.

The figures also show that customer incentives for purchasing ECVs, and especially their monetary value, differ greatly across Europe. The market share of ECVs is only significant in countries which offer extensive incentives. Five EU member states do not offer any incentives at all.

“Even though all manufacturers are expanding their portfolios of electric vehicles, we unfortunately see that market penetration of these vehicles is still very low and very fragmented across the EU,” Jonnaert said. “Consumers looking for an alternative to diesel now often opt for petrol vehicles or hybrid ones, but aren’t yet making the switch to electrically-chargeable cars on a large scale”.

“In other words, the final product alone – no matter how good it is – is not sufficient to create demand. As well as harmonised and coherent consumer incentives to stimulate sales, we need more investments in recharging and refuelling infrastructure in all EU member states, before we can expect consumers throughout the EU to really embrace alternatively-powered vehicles.”

ACEA members hope that the European Commission’s upcoming CO2 proposal for cars and light duty vehicles will take this into account.

***

Notes for editors

About ACEA

  • ACEA represents the 14 Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • More information can be found on www.acea.be or @ACEA_eu
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, cm@acea.be, +32 2 738 73 45; +32 485 88 66 47.

About the EU automobile industry

  • 12.6 million people - or 5.7% of the EU employed population - work in the sector.
  • The 3.3 million jobs in automotive manufacturing represent almost 11% of EU manufacturing employment.
  • Motor vehicles account for almost €396 billion in tax contributions in the EU15.
  • The sector is also a key driver of knowledge and innovation, representing Europe's largest private contributor to R&D, with more than €50 billion invested annually.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of about €90 billion for the EU.