On Tuesday, the country’s largest manufacturers’ organization said that Spain’s auto sector urgently needs a makeover to catch up to its European counterparts, and speed up its vehicle electrification process as automakers fight to recover from a pandemic-induced slump.
Following the global COVID-19 illness outbreak in 2020, supply chain bottlenecks, temporary factory closures, and semiconductor shortages have all hindered Spanish auto production over the past few years, as they have elsewhere in Europe.
The auto lobby has no patience: Speed up the vehicle electrification!
Wayne Griffiths, CEO of Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary SEAT and head of the lobbying group ANFAC, declared as he unveiled the corporation’s 2025 plan that there was no more time to waste.
He said that automakers cannot afford to wait till 2023 to make bold moves. Cosmetic changes are no longer sufficient, SEAT CEO comments on the situation.
Weaker-than-expected electric vehicle (EV) sales, an aging auto fleet – which is impeding emission reduction and safety goals – and a still-deficient charging infrastructure for EVs are among the difficulties the nation’s sector faces, according to Griffiths.
Around 78,000 PHEVs and battery electric cars (BEVs) were sold in Spain in 2022, a significant decrease from the 120,000 needed to satisfy the country’s existing emission targets. 9.2% of all auto sales are electric vehicles, compared to a European Union average of nearly 20%.
Europe is splitting in two, and Spain lags behind others
Spain is lagging behind advanced nations like Germany or Portugal as Europe divides in two, according to Griffiths.
The sector-boosting actions suggested by ANFAC include modernizing EV buyer subsidies so they are applied directly them to the purchase price, streamlining pertinent sales, income, and corporate taxes, and establishing legally binding targets for the deployment of high-power public EV charging infrastructure.
Although he was aware that EVs’ typically high prices had turned some potential customers off, Griffiths said the industry ultimately needed to push people to make the switch to EVs.
Electromobility will likely become more democratic over time, in his opinion. Griffiths predicts they will release the new versions in 2024 and 2025 at lower pricing.
The statistics: Europe and vehicle electrification
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular in Europe. According to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory, as of 2020:
- The total number of electric cars on the road in Europe was around 2.2 million. It is a market share of around 3.5% of all new car sales in the region.
- Norway has the highest market share of electric cars, with more than 50% of all new car sales being electric. Other countries with high market shares include Iceland (22.6%), Sweden (8.9%), and the Netherlands (8.3%).
- Germany is the biggest market for electric cars in Europe, with around 595,000 electric cars on the road in 2020. Other big markets include France (405,000), the United Kingdom (375,000), and Norway (320,000).
- In terms of electric vehicle stock, Norway leads with over 300,000 EVs on the road. Germany follows with over 250,000 EVs. France has a third place with over 200,000 EVs.
- Battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which make up around 88% of the total electric car market power the majority of electric cars in Europe. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) make up the remaining 12%.
- The most popular electric car models in Europe are the Tesla Model 3, the Renault Zoe, and the Volkswagen ID.3.
Electric vehicle sales are increasing year on year in Europe. More consumers are choosing electric vehicles as a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional combustion-engine cars. Governments in the region are also implementing policies, such as incentives and charging infrastructure. Certainly, there are stricter emissions standards to promote the uptake of electric vehicles and decrease carbon emissions.