Electric Cars Face Several Speed Bumps

Carmakers want EU support for the EV industry.

October 01, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The European Union plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 37.5% between 2021 and 2030 has carmakers asking government leaders to help them out, reports Retailnews.asia. According to Europe’s carmakers, governments must build electric car charging stations and provide consumer subsidies to boost sales of battery-powered vehicles if they expect to meet the strict emissions rules on time.

Industry executives warned at last week’s Frankfurt auto show that the EU rules could be disastrous for profits and jobs because most consumers are opting for larger sport utility vehicles instead of electric cars.

“Our industry is eager to move as fast as possible toward zero-emission mobility. But this transition is a shared responsibility,” said Carlos Tavares, president of European auto industry association ACEA. “Governments across the EU need to match the increasing pace at which we are launching these cars by dramatically stepping up investments in infrastructure. Moreover, they also have to put in place sustainable purchase incentives.”

Meanwhile, China reported a 16% decline in electric vehicle sales for August, according to Retailnews.asia. The cumulative sales of all pure-electric, fuel-celled and plugin hybrids vehicles stood at 85,000, reported the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, compared to 100,000+ vehicles sold during the same month in 2018.

In addition, China saw a month-on-month drop of 4.7% compared to the total EV sales in July 2019. This is the second straight month the EV sales have declined in China, following the government’s decision to scale back subsidies.

The world’s largest electric vehicle market, China accounts for about half of the world’s EV sales and hopes to electrify 60% of its total vehicle population by 2035. The Chinese government decided to gradually reduce the subsidies for NEVs in order to make the segment self-sufficient. But low sales figures put pressure on the government to come to the industry’s aid once again.

China takes electric vehicles seriously, especially buses. According to Interact Analysis, 80,000 electric buses were delivered globally in 2018, and 99% went to China. As reported by CNBC, some cities, like Shenzhen, have gone entirely electric with their bus fleet.

“If you look at the impact that that’s had on China, they have reduced their daily oil consumption by over 200,000 barrels,” says Ryan Popple, CEO of American electric bus manufacturer Proterra.

Electric buses have had little impact on the United States. Of all those electric buses delivered last year, the U.S. took delivery on just 300, but that is starting to change. North of Los Angeles, Antelope Valley Transit Authority is close to becoming the first all-electric metro fleet in the country, and places like New York City and California have set goals to gradually transition to 100% zero-emission bus fleets by 2040.