It is clear that the jump to the electric car will not happen overnight, but it remains to be seen if the European institutions are pushing more than the market can absorb with their plans to steer the market towards a completely emissions-neutral scenario. THAT has published its complete x-ray of the European car and one fact weighs on any other: Only 0.5% of vehicles used in Europe are electric.
Although the sale of electric and plug-in hybrid cars continues to grow and in 2021 sales of cars powered exclusively by electricity exceeded one million, the data confirms that the transition to this type of car will take time to arrive. In fact, in 2021 the mobile fleet continues to age (it has gone from an average of 10.7 years in 2016 to 11.8 in 2021) and the number of vehicles that roll on our continent continues to grow, so the most old ones are not replaced at the desired rate either.
Norway is the thermometer
How long does it take for the electric to become the predominant vehicle? At the moment, there is no answer to this question, but Norway, the absolute reference when it comes to penetration of the electric car can give us an idea.
In 2011, 1% of electric cars were sold in Norway. In 2020, more than half of the cars sold in the country were powered exclusively by electricity. 54% of the vehicles purchased in Norway in 2020 were electric and gasoline and diesel barely represented 8 and 9% of sales, respectively. In 2021 they have achieved a market share of 65% and in November they came to represent the 73.8% of cars sold.
And, despite everything, the mobile fleet of electric cars remains at 12.1%, still far from gasoline (34.6%) and diesel (43.5%). But, in addition, the data shows that the Norwegians do not get rid of their previous models. The country’s mobile fleet is aging and follows the trend of the rest of Europe. On average, a Norwegian car is 10.7 years old, just one less than the European average (11.8).
Although the mobile fleet is growing (in 2021 there were 5% more cars circulating in Norway than in 2016), the penetration of the electric car has also increased notably in recent years. In 2017, only 3.7% of Norwegian cars were fully electric, while in 2021 it has reached 12.1%. These data can encourage political forecasts but we must remember that Norway had a per capita income of 59,130 euros in 2020, far from the European average of 30,408 euros.
The rest of the countries are very far
Beyond the exceptional Norwegian case, the figures collected in other European countries that are usually pointed to as examples of “electric mobility” show less hopeful data. Iceland is the second country in Europe where more electric cars are in circulation and represent 2.8% of total cars. The Netherlands, third in the ranking, only has 2% of moving electrics.
In Spain we need to see 2,000 vehicles pass in front of our eyes to make sure that four of them will be electric or plug-in hybrids. Both technologies barely represent 0.2% each of the total volume of vehicles in circulation in our country. That is to say, only 0.4% of Spanish cars are plug-in.
Let us remember that the promise is that in 2030 five million electric cars will circulate in Spain. According Bussiness Insider, it is necessary to multiply by 25 the current fleet of electric vehicles in the next eight years. Germany has already lowered its forecasts to have 15 million plug-in cars on its roads by 2030, of which ten million should be completely electric. Nowadays barely 0.6% of its mobile fleet are vehicles moved exclusively by electricity. The new German Executive has proposed that in the new forecasts the 15 million plug-ins be maintained but not discriminate between hybrids and pure electrics.
With these data present, it must be remembered that Europe has already set a date for the end of combustion in the member states: 2035. We will have to wait to confirm if this decision can be carried out in a continent where the average income is half that of Norway and where only Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden have an electric car penetration equal to or greater than 1%. .