The German automotive industry association, the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), is more upbeat about the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) following the recent commitment by a consortium of four carmakers to introduce a range of rapid-charging points across Europe. In conjunction with this, the range of EVs will increasingly approach that of cars with internal combustion engines, costs are coming down and the choice of EVs offered for sale is expanding.
VDA president Matthias Wissmann said: ‘Today we are convinced that the development will proceed considerably faster and forecast that roughly 15% to 25% of all new cars registered in 2025 will be electric.’ Although this still falls far short of proposals by the Green party to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2030, it is a significant jump from today, where just 17,000 battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEV) were registered in Germany in the first three quarters of 2016, equating to a market share of less than 1%. Even this level is stimulated, however, with subsidies reducing the purchase price of BEVs and PHEVs by €4000 and €3000 respectively since July and a recent extension of annual car tax exemption to 10 years.
Analysis by Autovista Intelligence reveals that these subsidies have brought new car prices and total costs of ownership (TCO) for electric vehicles down to levels that are close to diesel counterparts on a replacement cycle of 36 months and 45,000 km. Although vehicle range and the expansion of the charging network are two barriers to EV entry which are increasingly being addressed, the VDA’s outlook still appears rather ambitious. Ultimately, consumers are still sceptical about EV technology and hearts and minds need to be won. A push by carmakers and, ironically, associations such as the VDA, is required to allay consumer fears surrounding the costs, reliability, charging time and range of EVs. However, carmakers seem reluctant to widely promote the benefits of EVs, possibly for profitability reasons. Consequently, upbeat messages from associations are not likely to become self-fulfilling prophecies.
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