“Green” shoots, although for now, you are still dim. Sales of alternative vehicles, that is, electric, plug-in, hybrid and gas vehicles, increased their records in January by 46%, to 16,601. This increase was expected by the new European Union emissions target that has just entered into force, which requires manufacturers to significantly reduce the average emissions of the vehicles they sell. As a consequence, sales of electric vehicles grew 126.3%; and 186% in the case of plug-in hybrids.
Together, however, they only added 3,289 units, with 1,822 100% electric units sold. In addition, they accounted for only 1.8% of the total, compared to 8.2%, which, for example, has been reached in France, where the average emission of the park has been drastically reduced, from 112.9 grams of CO2 per kilometer in December to 96 in January (very close to the new average limit in the EU, of 95 grams), according to analyst Matthias Schmidt. There are no data for Spain yet. Cars, commercial, industrial and electric buses should reach 37% of sales to add 2.5 million in 2030, according to Anfac. This threshold is half of the goal of the Government of Pedro Sánchez, which foresees 5 million for that year.
“In the first semester the trends of last year will be maintained, and in the second semester the brands will have to transfer their need to comply with CO2 limits to their commercial policies around diesel and electricity”, they foresee from the federation of dealers Faconauto , advancing juicy discounts to place this type of vehicles. Despite this, they estimate that the total market will fall around 3%.
This price cut in the most efficient, electric and hybrid models (especially plug-in), which are precisely the ones that are most interested now to sell to manufacturers, will occur at the same time as the costs of traditional combustion cars, gasoline and diesel. It will be due to the new mechanisms necessary to comply with emissions. In the case of gasoline, in addition, it is foreseeable that many brands choose to discourage their acquisition.
Demanding emission targets
The new emissions target began on January 1 to affect already 95% less polluting of the commercial offer of each manufacturer. The objective is that the average emissions do not exceed 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer, which corresponds to a consumption of 4.1 liters per kilometer for a gasoline car, or 3.6 for a diesel. Limits impossible to meet without electric cars in the range. Whoever fails to comply with them, faces fines of 95 euros per gram and extra kilometer: about 12,000 million in total, according to Moodys.
According to the federation of environmental NGOs Transport & Environment, the EU emissions target forces manufacturers to market between 5 and 12% of plug-in electric and hybrid. Another consequence will be the withdrawal of many more powerful and polluting models, but also more profitable for manufacturers. Meanwhile, they must continue to invest in increasing the efficiency of combustion engines, which, for now, are 99% preferred for buyers in Spain. All this will add pressure to your income statement, which also partly explains the different movements towards consolidating the sector, such as the recent merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA Peugeot Citroën.
A recovery of demonized diesel, which emit less CO2 than gasoline engines, will also be necessary. Its decline in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal, together with the fashion of SUV vehicles, larger, heavier and more polluting, has contributed to the increase in average CO2 emissions in recent years.
Manufacturers also have an additional stimulus to sell electrified vehicles in the coming years, as European legislation establishes strong bonuses until 2022 for models that emit less than 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer – impossible goal for a diesel car or conventional gasoline- . Other bonuses that regulation allows are, for example, the incorporation of “eco-innovations” that reduce consumption, such as LED headlights that do not come on during the emission test.
Market crash in January
As for the general market, passenger car and SUV registrations fell 7.6% in January, with 86,443 units, ending four months of increases. The fall is more significant if the market is considered to have already receded in January 2019 (5.1%). The channel that is most reduced is, once again, that of individuals, which falls by 14.2%, with 40,551 vehicles sold. Follow the rental agency, which is left 12.2%, up to 13,107 units. Only sales to companies grow, 4.5%, to 31,371. The sale of light commercials also fell, 20.3%, with 13,847.
“It is worrying that families still do not opt for a new car,” says Naomi Navas, of the National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers, Anfac. The constant fall in this channel – eleven of the last twelve months has receded – the one with the highest volume and the most profitable for dealers is a matter of concern for the sector. It is attributed to the lack of incentives to renew a car and the uncertainty that has been added to the buyer by the different messages restrictions on combustion cars. In exchange, flexible acquisition formulas have been chosen, such as renting, or for extending the life of your old vehicle, which is also more polluting. According to Anfac, vehicle sales of more than 20 years have skyrocketed 17% in 2019..