Two million electric vehicles by end of 2016?

Two million electric vehicles by end of 2016?

Current predictions anticipate that the number of electric vehicles (EVs) will exceed the benchmark of two million by the end of 2016.

China leads the EU and the US in market size, with Nissan Leaf taking the top spot for bestselling model followed by Tesla’s Model S and two Chinese-made models report The Guardian article ‘Electric cars set to pass 2 million landmarks globally by the end of 2016’ by Damian Carrington.

A surging market in China is leading the way and Chinese-made models have pushed into the top five bestselling models, reports Carrington. Europe is the second biggest market, followed by the US, but their traditional car manufacturers face a stern challenge from China and from Tesla, whose much-anticipated Model 3 is expected to go into production in 2017.

Carrington points out that EV market predictions have been awry with only a quarter of the million EVs on US roads by 2015 predicted by US President Barack Obama. However, EV sales have now passed one percent of the whole auto market in Europe and China, and experts believe a turning point is passing.

“It is still very small, but what we have seen over the past few months is a complete culture change,” Greg Archer at Transport & Environment is quoted as saying in the article. Transport & Environment published an EV report yesterday showing sales in Europe doubled in 2015 to 145,000.

So it’s not surprising that EVs were the centre of attention at the Paris motor show, with Volkswagen committing to deliver 30 all-electric models by 2025 accompanied by a general decline in the price of batteries.

Archer is quoted as saying, “It is very clear that EVs are going to be seriously competitive with conventional vehicles. The revolution is under way, and Europe is well-placed to take a leading position.”

He warns though that action is needed in Europe to avoid future stalls, including a faster rollout of charging stations, and adds that China has its eye on the global EV market as well as on cutting its air pollution crisis.

“The Chinese have made an industrial policy choice that they want to be the leaders in EVs,” he is quoted as saying in the article. “So they are creating a strong domestic market in which their manufacturers can grow and gain expertise.

They realised they did not have the brands or expertise in conventional vehicles, so they aim to leapfrog the EU and the US to become the primary EV provider. It is a huge risk to the European car industry.”

EV Volumes’ Viktor Irle agrees in the article that the EV revolution has begun. “It is under way,” he says. “You see all the manufacturers talking about it.”

He reports that the number of EVs on the world’s roads will be 2.1 million by the end of 2016 according to EV Volumes data, which also shows battery costs are falling by 20% every year.

The world’s bestselling EVs in the first half of 2016, according to EV Volumes, was the Nissan Leaf followed by the Tesla Model S.

But the third and fourth spots were taken by models from the Chinese firm Build Your Dreams (BYD), with the Tang SUV and the Qin model. Chevrolet’s Volt took up fifth place.

Irle says in the article that BYD could be a serious global competitor in the future as “The BYD cars look beautiful – the Tang has been called the Chinese Porsche Cayenne.”  He also says Tesla will be a major player.

Tesla’s more affordable Model 3, due next year, is already inundated with pre-orders.

The traditional manufacturers have been more circumspect in forecasts for the EV market, writes Carrington.

Secretary general of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) Erik Jonnaert says that for the time being ACEA forecasts a rather marginal market share for all EVs of up to 8% by 2025 while emphasising the importance of improving traditional technologies such as the internal combustion engine as all options will be required to reduce CO2 emissions.

Oil companies – not surprisingly –  are not favouring EVs, with BP and ExxonMobil advocating that carbon emissions could be saved more cheaply by improving the efficiency of combustion engine vehicles, writes Carrington.

“I always have my doubts about the traditional vehicle manufacturers. They have huge capital and intellectual property invested in combustion engines and have a hard time making EVs more attractive than their regular models – it would be an admission that EVs are better,” Irle is quoted as saying in the article.

“They would cannibalize their sales and shoot themselves in the foot. This is why Tesla will likely be very successful. It also has a three to four-year head start on traditional automakers.”

On Wednesday, major investors warned the automotive industry that it needs to speed up readiness for a low-carbon world if it is to retain their support and prosper.

Norway is currently the undisputed world leader – with one in three new cars sold being an EV – with uptake ever increasing on the back of tax incentives and investment in charging infrastructure. The Netherlands, which is also at the forefront of EV uptake, aims –  in tandem with Norway –  to phase out all fossil-fuel cars by 2025.

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