A small range, scarcity in showrooms and modest marketing is holding back EVs, a new report by Transport & Environment (T&E) has found.
There are just 20 battery electric vehicles on sale in Europe compared to 417 conventionally fuelled petrol and diesel.
T&E research has found that even many of these models are simply not available for sale in showrooms – notably the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera and Bolt – and others have long waiting times due to a lack of manufacturing capacity, such as the Hyundai Ioniq and BMW i3.
Data from marketing analytics specialists Ebiquity analysed by T&E also shows that manufacturers are barely even trying to sell vehicles – as evidenced by tiny marketing expenditure.
On average across Germany, France, UK, Spain, Italy and Norway only 2.1% of carmakers’ marketing budget was spent on zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) and 1.6% on plug-in hybrid models.
The marketing spend on electric and hybrid cars is rarely higher than their market share, suggesting manufacturers are reacting to latent consumer demand from early adopters rather than actively growing the market share of zero-emission cars.
Around 30% of German, French, and British consumers say they would consider buying an electric vehicle today.
Opel and Vauxhall had no appreciable spend on electric models; neither did Ford, Honda, Peugeot-Citroën and Suzuki. The advertising budget for battery electric cars in Norway (where more than 1 in 3 new cars sold are now electric) was much higher. BMW spends 24% of its budget on promoting BEVs in Norway, and Daimler spends 14% for its BEVs.
Renault spends approximately six times more promoting its EVs in Norway (39%) than in other countries. These are all indications that companies tend to follow demand rather than create a new market.
The result of these trends is carmakers failing to hit their own EV sales targets. T&E analysis shows that sales of electric or zero-emission cars were around half the level forecasted or promised by carmakers.
On average, carmakers aimed at selling 3.6% electric cars but only achieved 1.7%. This varied among companies: Volkswagen reached almost 2% EV sales while targeting 3,5%; BMW sold 4% of EVs but aimed at 10%; Renault-Nissan sold 2.5% although it targeted 8%; Mitsubishi and Audi overachieved their EV targets.