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Car makers turn electric as European regulations kick in

The European emission regulation deadlines are fast approaching. In reaction, car makers hoping to stay below the 2021 95 g/km threshold are jumping on the electric vehicle bandwagon.

Even the famous skeptics, such as Toyota and Mazda, are launching their series of fully electric cars in the upcoming years.

In 2018, the average CO2 emission of new European cars was calculated at 120,4 g/km, increasing by 2 grams for the second consecutive year.

EU targets have been set. By 2020-2021, that average has to drop to 95 g/km or else carmakers will have to pay hefty fines.

The European car market is at a crossroad. On one side, EU regulations push for cleaner cars. But, on the other, customers seem to desire larger cars such as SUVs.

In addition, the market share of diesel – the cleaner fuel in terms of CO2 emissions – is drastically dropping.

The solution is to go electric. During the next two years a plethora of new electric cars will be launched. They will range from the new Renault Zoe, DS3 Crossback e-Tense, VW ID.3, Peugeot e-208, Opel Corsa-e, Honda e, and more. Not including the ones already on the market, such as the Audi e-tron or the Mercedes EQC. Only BMW has stepped out of the electric bandwagon.

Naysayers converted by force

Proof that regulators – European and Chinese – are pushing car manufacturers to electric vehicles, Toyota and Mazda have even decided to launch their own EVs. Toyota announced last June a new five-year plan whereby the aim is to have Toyota sell 50% of electric and hybrid cars worldwide.

Even the most famous EV naysayer, Mazda, is taking the leap. It will launch its first electric car next year, following a partnership with Toyota.

Pick-up trucks, affordable cars, and supercars

While the growth of the electric vehicle market share is still uncertain, the offer is undoubtedly increasing. In addition to the ‘conventional’ cars, some more niche electric vehicles should make their appearance in the upcoming years according to New Mobility.

Tesla has already announced that it’s working on a pickup truck. General Motors and Ford – which invested in Rivian – are also looking into it. At the other end of the spectrum, Lotus should present a new fully electric Type 130 this month. Plus, the Porsche Taycan should finally arrive this autumn.

In China, Renault will market its new low-cost City K-ZE. The electric city car conceived as an urban vehicle, will benefit from a 200 km range. It should cost the equivalent of 10.000 euro in China, and it’s not impossible that Renault brings it to Europe.

Is there a market?

Some might be born from regulations, others from idealistic views, however questions remain about the market readiness.

In France, sales have increased by 46% during the last semester, but the total share still only sits at 1,8%. In Belgium, EV only represented 0,7% of the car registrations last year.

Regulation deadlines are fast approaching, but the electric car has still a long way to go.

The Brussels Times

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