Currently reading: Manufacturers back electric vehicles despite slow global sales
The slow global uptake in electric cars hasn't dented many manufacturers' support for them, but concerns remain
2 mins read
14 November 2013

Car makers and governments are placing their faith in electric vehicles, despite the disappointing sales of the past three years.

Both BMW and the Volkswagen Group have recently spoken out in support of the German government’s aim to get one million electric vehicles on the country’s streets despite tiny sales of electric vehicles last year.

According to industry sources, less than 4200 pure EVs and hybrids were sold in Germany last year in a market worth about three million new car sales each year.

Even in the United States, which is thought to be the most EV-friendly of Western markets, the penetration of battery-powered vehicles has not yet exceeded 10 per cent. According to figures released at the recent Global Automotive Forum, between January and June this year, some 15,444 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles were sold in California. 

This number breaks down into 9700 EVs and 5736 plug-in hybrids, together accounting for just seven per cent of the Californian market. 

In China, the world’s biggest market for new cars and one suffering from serious pollution, EVs are failing to make an impact. Between January and June this year, 5123 pure EVs and 775 plug-in hybrids were sold in China.

Volkswagen chairman Martin Winterkorn was recently quoted as saying that Germany could hit the million target if plug-in hybrids were included in the calculation. VW bosses privately feel that only plug-in hybrids have any chance of widespread acceptance.

BMW has been bullish about the production prospects of its futuristic i3 EV, even though it costs £30,000 before the government grant of £5000. Analysts have also dramatically marked down the sales of the affordable Renault Zoe EV, predicting that the company will sell about 25,000 next year, well behind the 50,000 suggested as the firm’s internal target.


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14 November 2013
How much of this is to bring down individual manufacturers average emmisions across it's range to meet the EU fleet average requirements, and how much of it is a genuine attempt to provide us with meaningful transport ?

14 November 2013
What one fails to understand is keeping aside all the noise, hoopla and government incentives do any of the electric car makers believe they have made an electric car that is better than their regular offerings?! They are very expensive, have a lot of drawbacks and a very limited support infrastructure. I understand they will get better but is anyone convinced that present day fuel cell technology can come any close to IC engines?! Rather than spend money trying to convince the general population around the world to buy a glossed up car that is overpriced, have a limited range and a battery that is difficult to dispose and very expensive to replace; they should focus on R&D till they come up with a convincing answer. Stop trying to flog these half baked attempts and expect people to take the bait.

14 November 2013
From practically no where 3 years ago to positions like "...accounting for just seven per cent of the Californian market" and the Leaf being the 6th best seller in Norway is great progress. The electric versions have quiter engines than any BMW diesel or petrol and have running costs, less than 2p a mile, that's a cost that diesel smokers can only dream about, the initial price to is coming down. Looking forward to the next 5 years and even more advanced plug-in hybrids and 200 mile range elecrtric cars. Hopefully that'll stop the luddites moaning too!

14 November 2013
My word XXXX you like to give the good points of the EV,how odd you say nothing about the bad points?. When you have to recharge the car you can not use it,should you have to park the car on the road,many have too,the problem you have with rechargeing the car. The car can not be used for longer trips,the cost of a new battery when you need to replace the old one,no one tells us the cost of a new battery. As for luddites moaning,please do not be so silly,the facts of the matter is,at this time EV are at best poor, at worse a waste of time and money. It may well be the case in 15-20 years time they will be worth thinking about but now sorry they are just a very poor joke.

14 November 2013
Mr KEN "My word XXXX you like to give the good points of the EV,how odd you say nothing about the bad points?." You forgot to mention the good points, perhaps you should write to VW, Toyota, GM, BMW, Ford, Nissan etc that they should give up on eletric plug-in hybrid power for 15-20 years, you seem to know best?

14 November 2013
Having received a looking for sales mag from BMW, i read some of the captions below some of the pics,well, talk about customer aiming!, i3 with slim, tall twenty something,standing by her i3 at a charge point,now, you know and i know that it's aimed at single with a good job in the City types, not hard working parents,always in a hurry,and kids to get out the door or drop of to School.This car is a second car,if you can afford it,roll on the i5!,yes, there's talk.

14 November 2013
'Even in the United States, which is thought to be the most EV-friendly of Western markets' - thought by whom??? EVs take a significant share of the Norwegian new car market, the Nissan leaf is the best selling car. Thus also putting paid to the fallacy that EVs don't work well in cold climates.

14 November 2013
"Even in the United States, which is thought to be the most EV-friendly of Western markets, the penetration of battery-powered vehicles has not yet exceeded 10 per cent. " - HIlton Holloway ....Can we have some numbers? Until then I'm assuming it is nowhere near 10% and that this is a mistake.

14 November 2013
The reason so many manufacturers offer them is easy. They are pretty cheap to develop. How hard is it to buy in a battery pack, and and an electric motor and simply replace the conventional powertrain. None of them want to appear left out. The i3 has obviously taken more commitment having a unique structure, but how much of the tech will be used in other cars? But the reason why most people thinking of buying a car dont think about electric is easy. For almost everyone they dont work, and that wont change unless there is some amazing progress in technology and cost.

14 November 2013
The German market is still dominated by the perceived need to travel at 250kmph on unrestricted autobahns. It's why the manufacturers have spent so much time developing big, heavy powerful (diesel) cars which are great if your objective is going fast in a straight line on smooth roads. Electric cars and hybrids just don't fit this brief. I live near the German border and the charging-location maps show Germany as a blank - there's almost nothing between here and Munich 3 hours away. The other aspect is that German manufacturers have been slow into the electric market. Germans tend to buy German cars so it's hardly a surprise that without a good number of German electric cars the electric car sales are small.


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