New industry analysis by the European Federation for Transport & Environment (T&E) has shown that Europe secured €60 billion of investments to produce electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries last year - which is 19 times more than the same figure for 2018.
Germany the greenest
The T&E report shows that, driven by EU car CO2 targets for 2021, the automotive industry and national governments committed 3.5 times more to EV and battery production in Europe than they did in China. Furthermore, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis - which has devastated the car industry - T&E is calling on the EU and national post-Covid aid distributors to prioritise EV production, as well as offering purchase incentives, to boost zero-emission car sales; this is especially the case for corporate, taxi and car-sharing fleets.
In terms of the apportioning of the €60bn of investment in the European EV business in 2019, Germany gained the bulk of it with a €40bn pot, mainly coming from the Volkswagen Group and Tesla's announcement that it would open a plant in Berlin. The Czech Republic received €6.6bn - again, mainly thanks to Volkswagen and its plan to produce 75 all-electric models worldwide by 2029, some of these being Skodas - while Italy secured €1.75bn from Fiat. All of France, Sweden and the UK received €1bn apiece from various manufacturers, while Spain received almost €300 million from Opel. Meanwhile, Hyundai and Kia pumped a further €80m into Croatia.
Covid recovery the key
Saul Lopez, e-mobility manager at T&E, said: "A few years ago, Europe was nowhere in the race for EV supremacy. But EU CO2 targets concentrated carmakers' and governments' minds to invest €60bn in electric cars and batteries, and finally close the gap with China. Success in this market is now Europe's industrial policy and lawmakers should double-down with stimulus measures that will also drive a green recovery."
This surge in EV investment led to a booming electric-car market, with EVs accounting for seven per cent of sales in the first quarter of 2020. But, of course, the hit of the coronavirus global emergency will have halted this burgeoning market, as a result of which T&E is suggesting lawmakers should aim to regain the EV momentum in the wake of Covid-19 by offering recovery measures, such as loan guarantees and liquidity support for manufacturers prioritising EVs. Further, scrappage schemes and purchase incentives should help to drive sales in urban, public and private fleets. Mr Lopez added: "Covid has wrought human tragedy and economic turmoil. But the EU and governments can use the recovery to emerge with a healthier, greener economy that reinforces its EV industrial strategy and creates thousands of jobs."