The future won’t be all EV
Are we moving towards EVs because of government incentives and taxes, or because it’s the right thing to do? Fleet Europe Remarketing Forum moderator Dean Bowkett’s question goes to the heart of our current predicament with powertrains, and he had a panel of four representatives from OEMs at hand to offer an answer.
“It’s government-driven”, suggested Jean-Christophe Lucchi (Group Sales & Marketing, PSA): “Just look back at how diesel took off because governments thought it was the best solution and decided to subsidise the price at the pump”.
Pushing the market
Recent research from the UK, cited by Mr Bowkett, indeed indicates that less than 1 in 5 consumers cares more about emissions than about price. But regulations, taxes and incentives are pushing the market away from ICE and towards EV – willy-nilly.
The future won’t be all EV, though. “We all used to focus on one alternative-fuel technology in the past, but we’re moving towards a situation in which all OEMs are investing in a wide variety of alternatives”, said Olivier Ferry (Corporate Sales & Remarketing Director Europe, Hyundai).
“Fuel cells offer a better energy density, but batteries may be better for smaller cars”, Nick Higgs (Fleet Business Management Manager, Toyota Motor Europe) gave as an example. “In the next few years, we will develop both these technologies further”.
But there’s also an infrastructure issue, added Mr Ferry: “Not everybody lives in Paris or Berlin. There are also smaller cities, like Lunéville or Kassel. Here, there are fewer transport alternatives. This is where ICE cars will remain essential”.
But range and battery anxiety should be overcome: “We should be working towards adapting our warranties to offer drivers peace of mind when it comes to the life of their battery”, said Stephan Heinecke (Director Used Car Europe, Jaguar Land Rover).
As the residual values of hybrids are strengthening, electrification may act as a catalyst towards different ways of buying a car – with secondary leasing an interesting option for the future, the panel agreed.
In the closing Q&A session, the responsibility for expanding the charging infrastructure was discussed. A pointed question by Mr Bowkett: “Why don’t you guys have the same plugs?”