Electric vehicles gain momentum in Europe

December 3, 2018 | 06:46
Electric vehicles gain momentum in Europe
Electric vehicles gain momentum in Europe
Most major vehicle manufacturers now offer a range of electric models and prices on the forecourt are falling. The much anticipated electric-car ownership ‘breakthrough’ is ever so slowly gaining momentum.

A report recently published by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), states that the big breakthrough in electric vehicle roll-out has faltered. The report concludes that there has been an upturn in electric vehicles sales since 2010 but far below what had been hoped for. All of the larger car companies are starting to get serious about electric vehicles production and buyers can now choose from a growing selection of EV models covering all vehicle styles.

Almost 300,000 electric passenger cars were registered in Europe in 2017, compared to about 1,400 in 2010. The largest volume of sales occurred in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the UK. The report looks at battery-only vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Electric busses are also increasingly seen as an environmentally friendly transport alternative in cities. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement here.

According to the 2017 EU report there are a total of 173,000 electric buses worldwide - 98% of which operate in China – that’s impressive, giving China a pioneering position in the technology. In Europe the UK has the most electric buses (200), next is the Netherlands (175) followed by Belgium (140), Germany (90) and Austria (75)
The report highlights that early roll-out of a nation-wide vehicle charging infrastructure is the key factor to encourage greater uptake of electric vehicles. In general, modest progress has been made on this front, but the situation is somewhat patchy throughout Europe. The Netherlands lead the way with 32,500 charging stations, followed by Germany with 25,000, France with 16,000, and the UK with 14,000. The other EU countries are lagging behind to some extent — in relation to it's population even Germany which is considered to be the car capitol of Europe. Unless the infrastructure allowing convenient and speedy recharging is in place most buyers will not even consider an electric vehicle as a practical option for personal transportation, especially for long journeys.

Support from dealerships and availability of servicing facilities are also crucial to widespread uptake of the technology.
As for the price of new models, the report assumes that electric cars will become less expensive in the near future, which will undoubtedly benefit market penetration. The report highlights poorly coordinated efforts across the various EU member states to stimulate a wider acceptance of E-mobility resulting in a certain degree of fragmentation in the market.

You can read the EU report here.
 
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