Sales of electric cars in the European Union doubled in 2013 and this increase was aided by the release of new models. According to Totally Electric Cars, this means there is now 1 electric car sold for every 250 conventional vehicles; this indicates a change in the way we drive though obviously there is a huge amount of work still be done.
Electric cars are essential in the bid to cut down on carbon emissions though car manufacturers are still rallying against plans to reduce emissions. In 2012, 22,000 EVs were sold but this increased to 50,000 in 2013. Three new models dominated the market in 2013: Mitsubishi Outlander, Renault Zoe and the Volvo V60 as these models sold more than 8,000 units apiece.
In relative terms, EV growth is still slow but in a few years, such periods of growth will seem more dramatic. According to Greg Archer of the Transport & Environment (T&E) campaign group, electric cars are still too expensive for many people but this will change over time and allow the technology to compete. Though the hype surrounding EVs in 2010 was never going to be justified, this quiet revolution will eventually bear fruit according to Archer.
The Peugeot Citroen iOn/C-zero and Opel Ampera led the market in 2012 but tailed off in 2013. Archer believes this is a sign of better models being released. Interestingly, some EV manufacturers are offering occasional use of a conventional vehicle for longer journeys as part of the sales package. Archer also believes existing electric car grants are not sustainable and cutting the limit on overall emissions for business fleets was a more effective way to get companies to purchase zero emissions cars.
At present, cars make up 15% of the EU’s CO2 emissions and limits for fleet emissions have been set for 2015 but follow-ups for 2025 and 2030 have been postponed. Archer believes the industry is pushing back hard against lower emission limits and German carmakers, backed by their government, are especially active in this capacity.
The UK and Germany were accused of brokering a secret deal in 2013 where the German lobby for its carmakers would be supported by the UK in return for German support of the UK banking sector. In the United States, President Obama wants cleaner cars and has set a target for 2017.
Meanwhile, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is hoping to introduce measures to penalise diesel vehicles to reduce the city’s illegal levels of air pollution. Though Archer believes electric cars are crucial for lowering pollution, other measures are needed because it will be a long time before we have enough EVs on the road to make a significant difference.