Carmakers continue to miss their EV sales targets due to poor marketing, choice and availability – report

Carmakers are still failing to achieve their own sales targets for battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in Europe because they have barely improved the marketing, choice and availability of zero emissions vehicles, a new report shows. While carmakers seek to blame a lack of recharging points and government incentives, market data obtained by T&E shows that for the second year running [1] they spent miniscule amounts trying to sell electric vehicles – especially in markets where motorists are already willing to consider buying them.

Carmakers only spend 1.5% of their advertising budgets on zero emission models, and 1.4% on plug-in hybrids, in the EU’s five largest car markets, data from marketing analytics specialists Ebiquity shows. Yet around 30% of British, French and German consumers say they would consider buying an electric car today. In Norway – where four out of 10 cars sold in 2017 were battery or plug-in hybrids – manufacturers’ advertising spend on zero emission cars as a proportion was much higher at 10%.

Julia Hildermeier, clean vehicles and e-mobility officer at T&E, said: “Carmakers aim for one in every four cars sold in 2025 to be electric, but they are doing almost nothing to meet their own goals. We need ambitious EU regulations for car and van CO2 emissions in 2025 including a binding 20% target for low and zero-emission vehicles sales to give carmakers certainty to invest here in Europe like they are in China.”

Last year China introduced a production mandate on electric vehicles that is driving billions of euros of investments from European companies.

There are only about 30 battery and fuel cell electric models on sale in Europe compared to about 370 conventionally-fuelled models, T&E’s report also shows. But 90% of sales are from just nine models and most are simply not available for sale in showrooms and others have long waiting times. Yet carmakers’ own predictions show they expect 26% of sales to be electric vehicles by 2025. [2] In 2017, plug-in hybrid, battery and fuel cell cars accounted for 1.8% of sales in Europe (including Norway), growing by 43% compared to 2016.

Julia Hildermeier concluded: “CO2 emissions from transport are still rising but the car industry is in the slow lane and is refusing to accelerate the supply of low and zero emission vehicles. If the industry won’t supply and market cars to reverse rising emissions then regulators must make them.”

Notes to editors:

[1] T&E obtained data from market research institute Ebiquity for 2016 and 2017. Findings from an analysis of marketing spend for the 2016 showing low figures for advertising spend on BEVs and PHEVs have now been confirmed by the updated data set for Europe’s largest EV markets – Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain and Norway.

[2] T&E analysed carmakers' stated commitments for sales of electric vehicles and estimated the expected market share in the EU.

Read more:

T&E’s report: Carmakers still failing to hit their own goals for sales of electric cars


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Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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