A new report predicts that within the next two years, the penetration of electric cars on the European auto market is likely to reach a point of no return as zero emissions vehicles become the mainstream item for consumers.
A new report from NGO T&E predicts production of electric vehicles in Europe will surge six-fold from around 750,000 in 2019 to more than million by 2025. It sees a 60/40 split between battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and more than 330 different models available.
In certain parts of Europe – most notably Norway, where more than 50% of new car sales are electric – EVs are becoming a common sight on roads, but overall it is still regarded as an early adopter market.
But new rules for EU carmakers – setting a mandatory CO2 target of 95g/km, and carbon emissions reduction targets set by the EU that will require CO2 from all new cars to be lowered 15% by 2025, and 37.5% by 2030 compared to 2021 levels – mean that the shift to EV production is inevitable.
It has been previously estimated by Transport and Environment (T&E) that to reach the new 2020/21 CO2 targets, carmakers will need to achieve a 7% market share of plug-in electric vehicles.
The new report, indicates that with a rush of new PHEV and BEV offerings planned by automakers in Europe, by 2021 this figure will be more like 10%.
It shows that the number of electric car models available on the European car market is set to increase by around 75% between 2019 and the end of 2020.
Volkswagen will lead the charge, if it lives up to promises of 50 fully-electric models by 2025, followed by PSA with as many as 23 new BEVs released under its brands Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and DS.
This is followed by Daimler which plans to release 16 BEVs by 2025, Renault-Nissan Alliance with 13, and BMW and Toyota both planning to release 12 models within the next 6 years.
In 2020, the number of PHEVs released onto the market will jump by double, with nearly 50 new PHEVs slated by automakers.
Hydrogen fuel cell models (FCEVs) will be limited to just 14 models planned between by Toyota, Volkswagen and Daimler (up 12 from the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo available today) – a sign of the massive lead that BEVs have in terms of fast-charging infrastructure and accessibility with charging from home.
These figures of course, are dependent on current geopolitical, industrial and economic conditions prevailing, and if materials for, and production of, batteries can meet market demand.
Data currently available and modelled by T&E however suggests that with at least 16 large-scale lithium-ion production facilities planned across Europe to deliver as much as 131GWh of energy storage capacity by 2023 (and over double that by 2028, at 274GWh), battery demand at least should be met if planned schedules are kept.
Another factor however will also be consumer demand. As claimed recently by BMW board member and executive Klaus Frölich, the demand for PHEVs in Europe is currently higher than for BEVs.
Frölich claims this is because European households tend to be one car households and are currently preferring to hedge their bets by sticking to vehicles that run on both electric and fossil fuels.
“Given the enormous amount of money committed to the transition – jointly EU carmakers plan to spend around EUR 145 billion ($A231 billion) on electric cars – success in this field is now a top industrial priority for Europe,” the T&E report says.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.