By Paul Homewood
The wheels are coming off the EV rollout.
Firstly, as Kia’s CEO inconveniently points out, most drivers cannot afford to buy a new EV. As a result, Kia has no immediate plans to build EVs for the mass market, instead concentrating on up-market cars:
A mass market in affordable electric cars will not happen soon because of the difficulty of producing them on a commercially viable basis, one of the largest makers of zero-emission vehicles for British drivers has warned.
Paul Philpott, UK chief executive of Kia, the fast-growing South Korean car company, said it had no immediate plans for a mass-market electric product.
Some fear there is a prospect of a society of haves and have-nots in the electric car revolution because of the sheer cost of buying or financing a zero-emission vehicle.
Philpott’s prediction also threatens to undermine the government’s ban on selling petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.
With price inflation roaring ahead in the past couple of years, there are only a handful of electric cars available below £30,000, compared with the less than £20,000 that motorists would expect to pay for mass market or entry-level petrol cars. Even the smallest electric car, the zero-emission version of the Fiat 500, starts at about £30,000.
This month the Advanced Propulsion Centre, the government’s automotive electrification agency, significantly cut electric car forecasts for 2025 because “buyers are expected to stick with cheaper options for longer”.
While European and Asian manufacturers have been stepping up production of electric vehicles, they have been concentrating on more expensive models to make healthy profit margins on the cost of installing electrified systems. The battery pack is the costliest component of an electric car. The smaller the car, the larger the proportion the battery in its production cost.
The lack of interest in the EV market amongst UK carmakers is one of the major factors behind the failure of Britishvolt, who failed to get any real long term commitment for battery orders. And that lack of interest is understandable, given the billions it would cost those carmakers to design and build new electric models.
All of this was totally predictable, and the end result of the government’s ban on new petrol/diesel cars from 2030 will be the decimation of the UK car industry and a society of haves and have nots.
The Express also reports on the growing dissatisfaction in the car industry:
Online car marketplace carwow is warning that growing dissent from car manufacturers could derail politicians’ big plans for electric cars. From 2030, only EVs, and hybrids that can cover a “significant distance” in zero-emission battery mode, can be sold from new, with anything that is not a fully electric vehicle banned from 2035.
Experts at carwow consider that this planned abandonment of hybrid technology, which is popular, practicable and brings a meaningful reduction in exhaust emissions, should be reconsidered as a matter of urgency.
In December last year, the president of Toyota warned that in the car industry, the “silent majority is wondering whether EVs are really OK to have as a single option,” and that we need to be “realistic” about this goal.
Earlier in the year the boss of BMW was implicitly critical of the EU’s plans for banning new petrol and diesel car sales in 2035, explaining that “an abundance of renewable energy, a seamless private and public charging infrastructure network and access to raw materials” were all “essential” for such a project to work.
Hugo Griffiths, carwow’s consumer editor, said: “Utterances such as these do not happen by accident, not least from auto-industry bosses who are traditionally conservative: such statements speak of real concerns for the feasibility of politicians’ plans for electric cars.
Mr Griffiths added: “Ministers can come up with all manner of high-minded policies from the back of an electric limousine, yet there remains a huge gulf between blue-sky political thinking, and how much cobalt and lithium can actually be dug out of the ground for EV battery packs.
Meanwhile the Telegraph reminds us once again that it is now it is now more expensive to run EVs than a petrol car:
In fact it is much more expensive than the Telegraph report, as their costings for petrol include fuel duty, which will ultimately have to be paid by EV drivers one way or another.
It is hard not to draw the conclusion that the real goal all along was to force millions to give up their cars.