If we look back at the history of the EV market there is no doubt that the current environment is the most positive we have seen for many years. There are new technologies on the way, battery-power is improving all the time and today we have the chief operating officer of Renault, Carlos Tavares, confirming that his company expects global EV sales to double to around 36,000 units in 2013.
It is worth bringing the argument back down to earth with the fact that EV sales are but a fraction of traditional gasoline/diesel sales. However, a doubling of unit sales for Renault will likely mean an increase in sales for other EV manufacturers, which will put more cars on the road, make them more visible to the public and hopefully help to lift the stigma which has followed the industry for some time.
Renault's market share
Renault believes that its own market share of the European EV sector is around 51% and expects to strengthen its position in 2013 and beyond. The company sold over 18,000 units last year and expects an increase in sales over the next 12 months. At present, the company is one of few in the EV marketplace to have four different models available and while dismissive of the hybrid market as expensive and not necessarily helpful, the company has not dismissed outright the chances of bringing a hybrid to the market.
Why is Renault dismissive of hybrids?
Renault is dismissive of the hybrid market for one main reason, the fact that using electric and gasoline/diesel fuels requires two different drivetrains linked to an internal combustion engine. This is perhaps a fact which many people seem to miss when looking at the hybrid market although there is no doubt this particular area has been helpful in assisting motorists in making small steps towards the electric vehicle market.
Quote from ElectricForum.com - What a turnaround from earlier in the year - "Even though French giant Renault is one of the most successful electric car manufacturers in Europe the company is still disappointed at sales so far. Will a new marketing strategy be enough? Are the public ready for the hard sell?"
It is perhaps the concerns regarding journey capacity on a fully electric system which is playing into the hands of hybrids in the short term but as technology improves, these fears should begin to fade.
Could 2013 be the year of the EV?
If we take a look back over the last few months there is no doubt that 2013 did not start too well for the EV market. There were some rather dire forecasts for EV sales, we saw some big-name victims of financial distress in the EV market and the motoring public did not seem to be grasping the benefits of EV travel. However, within just a few days these fears seem to have been dismissed somewhat with an array of helpful and hopeful news.
Tesla is looking to introduce an affordable EV within four years, General Motors is rumoured to be in secret tests with a vehicle which can do in excess of 300 miles per full charge, the Chinese government is investing heavily in this region, and its U.S. counterpart will not want to be left out. While it would be foolish to suggest that the EV market is now over the worst, there is no doubt that the pessimism of earlier in 2013 has been replaced by hope for the future.
While Renault has for some time now been relatively supportive of the EV market, today's comment that it expects sales to double across Europe is very encouraging, even though it is from a relatively low base.