Electric car sales in Western Europe are being kept alive by government subsidies and will quickly fall away again when tax-payer funding dries up.
The failings of electric cars are well rehearsed – too expensive, too inflexible to provide effective all-round transport – but that doesn’t stop manufacturers bragging about how theoretically successful they are becoming.
According to latest data from the European Car Manufacturers Association (known by its acronym in French ACEA) – electric car sales in Western Europe accelerated by a strong 77.2 per cent in the first half of 2015. So far; so impressive. But the totals – 72,201 versus 40,746 in the same period of 2014, show a pitifully small market share.
Total car sales in Western Europe in the first half of this year totalled 6.4 million.
And according to European newsletter Automotive Industry Data (AID), if you peer behind the numbers, some interesting anomalies appear, showing that the electric car market is subsidy driven.
Renault Zoe is likely to overtake the Nissan Leaf as West Europe’s biggest selling electric car in 2015.
AID editor Peter Schmidt said his data shows the Renault Zoe battery-powered car, with sales of 8,320, is racing for the lead in Western Europe and finished the half year just behind long-time market leader the Nissan Leaf’s 8,540. Renault sold 2,380 Zoes in June – 1,482 in its French home-market – but benefitted from an eye-watering 10,000 euro ($11,000) French government subsidy. The government will give this subsidy – now being called “Le Super Bonus” to anyone handing in a 14-years or older diesel car for an electric one. There’s a smaller subsidy – up to 6,300 euros ($,6,900) – for anyone buying an electric car. He predicts that the Zoe will be the biggest seller in all of 2015 too.
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