'Entering the mainstream': Electric cars to triple EU market share in 2020

Transport & Environment warns EU car CO2 targets need to be more ambitious to avoid EV sales growth slowing from 2022

Electric vehicle sales are on course to triple their share of Europe’s car market this year, largely thanks to increasingly stringent EU car CO2 targets, research by Transport & Environment (T&E) today indicates.

Despite the pandemic and market headwinds severely hampering the car industry in 2020, EV sales across the EU have surged just as new emissions standards kicked in at the start of the year, requiring automakers to limit the overall average CO2 output of the cars they sell.

The new EU standards have therefore helped push automakers to offer more EV models, with sales expected to make up 10 per cent of the overall car market in 2020, rising to 15 per cent in 2021, according to T&E. If so, it would mark a trebling of the EV market share from three per cent in 2019.

The green NGO today said it had analyses EU car sales data during the first half of 2020 alongside carmakers’ compliance strategies suggests, finding that PSA Group, Volvo, FCA-Tesla and BMW Group are already complying with the this year’s average CO2 target.

Renault, Nissan, Toyota-Mazda and Ford, however, all have a small gap left to close of two grams of CO2 per km from the cars they sell in 2020, it said. Further behind, meanwhile, Volkswagen Group has a five gram CO2 gap to close, Hyundai-Kia between seven and three grams, Daimler nine grams and Jaguar-Land Rover 13 grams, or face major penalty fines from the EU.

However, T&E called for the CO2 targets – which become more stretching each year – to be made far tougher after 2021 than currently planned, or risk the rate of EV sales slowing to reach only 20 per cent of the overall market share in four years’ time.

Julia Poliscanova, senior director for clean vehicles at T&E, said EV sales were booming thanks to EU emissions standards, with every one in seven cars sold Europe set to be a pure battery electric or hybrid vehicle, but that without CO2 targets for 2025 and 2030 sales could “run out of steam as soon as 2022”.

Moreover, she highlighted the worrying rise in sales of highly-polluting SUV vehicles, which crept up 39 per cent during the first half of 2020 across the EU, as well as the need to drive towards zero emissions vehicles, rather than hybrids which still use fossil fuels.

“The electric car is finally entering the mainstream in Europe but SUV sales are still growing like weeds,” Poliscanova said. “The only way to kill off highly-polluting vehicles is to give carmakers a clear end date now. Cars that run on biofuels, fake electric engines or fossil gas emit CO2 and shouldn’t be allowed on the market after 2035.”

The research came as professional services and facilities management firm Mitie today announced it has surged past its own EV target three months ahead of schedule, as it delivered its 750th electric vehicle on the path to operating a fully electric fleet by 2025.

The firm said 20 per cent of its fleet of vans and cars were now electrified, leaving it with several thousand more for it to switch over from its 5,500-strong road fleet within the next five years.

“With our first electric vehicle joining our fleet just 15 months ago, I’m incredibly proud that we’ve delivered on our ambitious commitment to switch 20 per cent of our cars and small vans to EV, three months ahead of schedule,” said Simon King, director of sustainability and social value at Mitie. “But this is just the first leg of our journey. We’re committed to going further and faster, having pledged to have a zero-emission fleet by 2025.”

Read more: businessgreen.com