Amid a very turbulent year, there is finally some positive news on the horizon for the automotive industry.
Many OEMs have started to see a significant reduction in their average emissions levels and are largely on track to hit targets set by the European Commission, despite new car registrations being severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to data collected and updated on a monthly basis by JATO Dynamics, for 21 countries in Europe, the average CO2 emissions totalled 102.2 g/km – under the New European Driving Cycle between January – August 2020. By these calculations, the European automotive market is currently 6.5 g/km over their combined target for 2021– this is a dramatic shift when compared to figures recorded in 2019.
Despite overall registrations falling by 29% between January and September this year – when contrasted with the same period in 2019 – registrations for electrified cars increased by 67% through September to 1.54 million units. This remarkable increase goes some way to explain the double-digit drops seen in demand for gasoline and diesel cars, and the increase in market share for EVs from 7.8% in January – September 2019, to 18.1% in January – September 2020.
BMW just 0.5 grams over their target
BMW is next in line to meet the target. With an average of 103.5 g/km in August, they are only 0.54 g/km above their target of 102.9 g/km. If this average remained the same, the German car maker would only have to pay a minimal penalty at the end of the year. Meeting their target is more than achievable due to their mix of two strategies: increasing the share of electrified vehicles on sale, and the relatively low emissions generated by their diesel cars.
Toyota is facing a difficult reality
From an outsider’s perspective, Toyota seems to be in a good position, only 2.2 grams away from their target. However, it seems that their hybridisation objectives which started some years ago are now stalling. For the past 3 years, hybrids have accounted for around two third of Toyota’s registrations in Europe, yet they are still not meeting the targets.
Damagingly, its pure electrics vehicles (real zero-emissions cars) have also taken a long time to arrive in Europe – with the new Lexus UX 300e, the first fully electric vehicle of the group, finally hitting the market this year.
Toyota’s rival, Hyundai-Kia has started to question Toyota’s methods. The strategy of Korea’s largest maker has been to boost its small SUVs and green compact cars. It seems to be paying off. While hybrids accounted for 65% of Toyota Group volume in August, they only made up 13% for Hyundai.
However, pure electric cars represented 8% of registrations for the Korean manufacturer, while Toyota has been unable to put any on sale this year. This perfectly demonstrates how BEVs are much more strongly placed to meet emissions targets, perhaps more so, than hybrid vehicles.