Electric vehicles beat diesels as electric car sales surge in Europe

Mathias Schmidt, automotive analyst, tells FinancialTimes that sales of battery-electric cars in Europe and the UK outpaced sales of diesel-powered cars for the first time in December. “The diesel death march has been repeating itself since September 2015, when ‘Dieselgate’ was first unveiled, leading VW to draw up the first plans for the ID.3 within 30 days of the reveal. scandal,” he said. December data shows that 176,000 battery electric vehicles were sold in December – 6% more than in December 2020 – compared to 160,000 diesels.

the FinancialTimes goes to great lengths to point out to its readers that the electric car boom is largely attributable to generous government subsidies and draconian emissions rules that force automakers to build low- or zero-emission cars. This approach, of course, is anathema to “free market” advocates. Were it not for the fact that the world is hurtling towards a climate catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, such market machinations could be rightly condemned.

the FinancialTimes reports that the German government is set to review the wisdom of diesel fuel tax credits that make it 14 cents per liter cheaper than premium gasoline. The love affair with diesel in Europe began after the OPEC oil embargoes in the 1970s.

Diesel engines consume more miles from a gallon of fuel than gasoline engines, and so there was a reason to promote the sale of diesel-powered vehicles at that time. The mechanism chosen by most countries was to increase taxes on gasoline and reduce taxes on diesel fuel. However, the justification for this has long since evaporated.

According to Swiss Info, sales of electric vehicles – including plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrids – have reached a “tipping point” in 2021, especially at the end of the year. Over the period from September to November, 100% electric vehicles represented 18.3% of new registrations. Including plug-in hybrids, this figure rose to 28% according to the Swiss Touring Club. The Tesla Model 3 leads all other electric vehicle models sold in Switzerland. The Volkswagen ID.3 takes second place, with less than half the number of cars sold.

“Given ongoing technological advancements, increased social acceptance and the ever-increasing choice of electric vehicle models, the development of electromobility is progressing faster than expected. The 50% mark for fully electric vehicles, which most experts only expected around 2030, should therefore be reached much faster than expected,” TCS said.

While the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Switzerland is comparable to that of other European countries – a total of 8,497 public charging stations were available across Switzerland at the end of 2021 – there are still too few chargers available for apartment dwellers and those parking on the street. “The barriers to home charging are still too high for tenants, apartment owners and residents who park on the street,” says Krispin Romang, managing director of the Swiss association eMobility.

Switzerland is implementing new laws aimed at reducing carbon emissions by 50% in 2030 compared to 1990. They include tightening exhaust emission standards to make them similar to those imposed by the EU. Fines imposed by the new law will be used to pay for charging infrastructure upgrades.

Takeaway meals

the FinancialTimes may complain about government subsidies and regulations, but they work. If they smack of socialism for some, so be it. Socialism is better than extinction overnight.

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Mary I. Bruner