Are Electric vehicules sales falling flat?


By URBACT, on February 13th, 2012

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Recent coverage in the UK media has questioned the viability of the electric cars with the observation that there are now more charging points than cars registered in the UK. Given the nascent state of the market, this is a point that is likely to be closely followed.

Most research indicates the ‘chicken or egg’ scenario when it comes to the vehicles as prospective buyers are hesitant due to the lack of charging infrastructure and infrastructure providers are hesitant due to the low number of vehicles. From the URBACT EVUE project experience however, it has become clear that once an initial availability of charging points has been provided, the focus needs to go on education and awareness training.

This can be achieved through Electric Vehicules days where people can test the cars and experience the cars for themselves. In addition, a focus on getting electric vehicules  into commercial fleets will contribute significantly as they give access to large numbers of employees to travel. So perhaps it’s less of which comes first, but both come together.

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Matthew Noon
EVUE Lead Partner

3 Responses to “Are Electric vehicules sales falling flat?”

  1. Philip Stein Philip Stein says:

    Hello Matthew,

    I note articles in Belgian newspapers today (6/03/2012) proclaiming that the Opel Ampera/Chevrolet Volt (which we tested at the EVUE meeting in Frankfurt) was voted car of the year by 59 EU journalists at the Geneva motor show. Coincidentally in the USA, General Motors have stopped production of the Volt until 23 April. There in February sales quadrupled with 1 000 cars leaving the showroom, but this doesn’t look like meeting the year target of 45 000. Last year’s target was 10 000 and the reality was a sales figure in the US of 7 671. In Belgium this year the vehicle sector agencies forecast the sale of only 750 electric cars (I think optimistic) and 3500 hybrids compared to 500 000 traditional vehicles.

    It is sure the ‘chicken and egg’ question is influencing demand. However I feel the most important factor in low sales is still price. The Ampera costs 45 000€ in Belgium and with the discontinuation of green car subsidy here since the beginning of the year it is difficult to imagine great demand ,even by fleet managers. So what price the Ampera reaching the 10 000 sales target for the EU this year?

    At the Belgian Motor Show there was great interest for electric cars, much more than in previous years, you almost felt a willingness to give it a go. But in every interview with interested drivers across all media channels, the cost price was always put forward as the ultimate reason for no sale.

  2. Matthew says:

    Hi Philip,

    Thanks for the comment.

    The interesting thing to note about cost is that for the first time, vehicle owners can take responsibility for the emissions that their mobility generates. At the moment, most cities are dealing with significant health and economic costs due to poor air quality with vehicle emissions being a major contributor. Traditionally there hasn’t been a method by which mobility could be maintained and so these costs have been picked up by the taxpayer. Do we want to penalise those people who are willing to reduce their emissions or alternatively continue to reward those who pollute? Policy makers now have the opportunity to review mobility in terms of the polluter pays principle. If so, how would that change the cost equation of electric carsl? For instance, instead of low emission zones, should we have zero emission zones?

  3. click here says:

    I complelty agree

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