Schmidt: Western Europe EV, PHEV Sales Stalling Through Decade

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

EV and PHEV manufacturers may have fared well in Western Europe last year, but further gains in the market aren’t likely for some time to come.

Forbes reports sales in Western Europe climbed 51.7 percent in 2014 to 58,582 EVs and PHEVs, gaining an overall market share of 0.49 percent according to Automotive Industry Data. Editor Peter Schmidt, however, warns that this may be the peak of such sales for the next five years:

Effectively, you have no detectable, genuine underlying consumer demand from private individuals. To make things worse, looking ahead at the next couple of years, I would say this is a scary time for electric car makers, chiefly because as the price of oil continues to hover around levels inconceivable a year ago and with fuel prices falling month by month, those people who had thought about buying an electric car may give up when they look at motoring expenses.

Per AID‘s figures, the Nissan Leaf took gold with 14,354 units sold in 2014, with the Renault Zoe winning silver with 10,885 units, and the Tesla Model S in a close third with 8,698 units. BMW and Volkswagen fill out the rest of the standings, with 8,290 i3s and 8,461 E-Ups and E-Golfs sold. Schmidt says those numbers don’t point to a “detectable genuine underlining consumer demand,” with Norway being the sole exception. There, 18,090 EVs and PHEVs took 12.5 percent of the country’s overall market last year, thanks to tax credits that make such vehicles equally as attractive as gasoline- and diesel-fueled models.

He adds that cheap oil “has tempted a rethink” among consumers as far as seeking out such vehicles are concerned, especially among those in the United States, where fuel is cheaper than in Western Europe already. Schmidt believes the lower prices at the pump would hold back the EV/PHEV market for the remainder of the decade, leading to major financial losses among the manufacturers who went all-in on EVs and PHEVs.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Feb 06, 2015

    Funny, all those red shirts at the Tesla dealership look like the ones I remember at the Saturn dealership when I bought my '93 all those years ago.

  • An innocent man An innocent man on Feb 06, 2015

    Eh, according to Holdren we all starved to death back in the nineties anyhow. So, why worry now?

  • Jeff Glad that GM still makes a car for enthusiasts. Maybe if Chris is lucky he could get his hands on one it would make a good car review.
  • Tsarcasm Someone tell soft skull (musk) about the moss magnuson warranty act
  • Ajla Nice car.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Not at all.
  • Verbal Here's a little tale about long-term Tesla ownership.In 2017 my buddy bought a three year-old Model S for $68k, which was the going rate at the time. He kept it garaged and treated it with kid gloves. It looked and ran virtually like new. The only problem he ever had with it was some kind of recurring issue with the driver's door handle. He never had to replace the brakes.A couple months ago, at ten years of age, the original battery finally bricked. Tesla quoted him $17k to do a battery replacement. But! If he replaced the battery, they would give him $11k in trade on a new Tesla!!! You don't have to be a math genius to see that those are crooked numbers.Using aftermarket parts is a non starter. Rebuilt batteries can be sketch. And the cap that goes on the battery is a Tesla-only part.Most people don't have $17k burning a hole in their pocket for a car repair. What are you going to do? Ask your credit union for a $17k loan to put a new battery in your ten year-old car? Good luck with that.A local auto recycler quoted him $1000. The recycler said that if he replaced the battery, the car would have a resale value in the low $20k's. That wouldn't give him enough headroom to make it worth his while. He said there are 150,000 dead Teslas in the national inventory (don't know where he gets this figure). And there's no demand for used Tesla parts, since most Tesla owners seem to treat their cars well. So Teslas with dead batteries have marginal scrap value.Thus, my friend's Tesla, with 80k miles on the clock and in excellent condition, with a dead battery, was scrapped. During his ownership, the car depreciated by around $800 a month.He saved a lot of money by not paying for gas, oil changes, tune ups, and consumables. But in the end, all those saving were erased by huge depreciation.Welcome to long term Tesla ownership, folks.(Cue the wailing and rending of garments from the Tesla fanboyz.)