• Nuno Moreira da Cruz

Electric Vehicles: 100 horses and only 3 cars…



October 10th 2021


The rise of electric vehicles and whether this is an unstoppable trend, has been the object of several recent articles. Let us stick to some facts:

  • One in 12 cars sold across Europe between April and June this year ran on batteries alone. If hybrid models that use both an engine and a battery are counted, this rises to one in three. Sales of electric cars in Europe have jumped from 198,000 in 2018 to an expected 1.2m this year.

  • Car-makers have announced a total of $330bn of investment into electric and battery technology over the next five years, a sum that has risen 40 percent over the past 12 months.

  • The UK has already announced plans to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars altogether by 2035, with Norway pursuing a more aggressive phaseout date of 2025. The EU is proposing its own 2035 de facto ban.

  • At September’s Munich Motor Show, the first major European exhibition in two years because of the pandemic, there were almost no new petrol models debuted.

  • Earlier this year Mercedes announced a very ambitious timetable: from the middle of this decade the systems used to build all its cars will switch over to producing electric models.

  • There are around 330 pure electric or hybrid models that combine a battery and traditional engine on sale today, compared with just 86 five years ago. That number will increase further to more than 500 by 2025.

  • BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen tripled their sales of electrified vehicles to almost 600,000 last year

  • Within four years, one-quarter of new cars bought in China and nearly 40 percent of those purchased in Germany are expected to be electric, according to Bloomberg.

Having said all of this let us still stick to some more facts: currently, electric vehicles only make about 1 percent of the global fleet of passenger cars, and the forecast for car sales in 2030 amounts to nearly 30m electric cars vs a forecast of 1,2 bn of total carpool – meaning that, despite the growth, in 2030 it will only rise from 1% to 2.5%. So, is this a revolution? Most will argue against it. But let us put it this way: building on Andy Palmer, (former Nissan executive who launched the first Nissan electric vehicle) analogy saying that he believes the shift is “like moving from the horse to the car”, I am sure that back 150 years ago there were moments where you could see around you 100 horses and only 3 cars… In other words, just a question of time and pace.

Nuno Moreira da Cruz Executive Director Center for Responsible Business and Leadership



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