Car: why are some manufacturers slowing the use of electric vehicles?

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Electric car sales are increasing, but not as fast as some manufacturers expected, and they are forced to adapt their strategy accordingly. Can we ban the sale of new thermal cars in 2035 in Europe?

17% of new cars sold in France in 2023 had 100% electric mechanics. In Europe, this figure was 14.6%.

Zero-emission cars are increasingly attractive to motorists in the Old Continent (and in China and the United States), but customers still prefer thermal cars.

However, some car manufacturers had opted precisely for the mass adoption of their electric cars by customers and, therefore, found themselves with models that did not sell as well as expected.

Manufacturers react accordingly

And they react accordingly: in the United States, Ford has just modified its strategy for the coming years, while declaring abysmal losses in the sale of electric cars alone ($4.7 billion in 2023 alone).

In Europe, the Volkswagen group had to reduce the production of its main electric models (Volkswagen ID.3, ID.4, Cupra Born, Audi Q4 e-tron, etc.) while lowering their prices.

And also at Stellantis the Fiat 500e had to close its factory in Italy several times to adapt to demand.

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German brands slow down

German premium brands, which a few years ago were thinking big about electric vehicles, are also adapting. Although Audi planned to stop developing new thermal cars after 2026, the brand with the rings finally decided to continue designing new generations of cars equipped with petroleum engines, long after the middle of the current decade.

At Mercedes, the initial plans envisaged being able to sell 100% electric cars in Europe by 2030. Also in this case these plans have just been cancelled, since the manufacturer now has 50% electrified cars in specific markets such as Europe in 2030.

Which means that if the market evolves as Mercedes predicts, it will sell less than 50% electric cars by the end of the decade (and perhaps even much less than 50% since sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles are also counted in that half).

At Porsche, while we had 80% of global sales of electric vehicles by 2030, managers are questioning in a possible decline.

Mercedes EQE SUV (©Mercedes)

What will we do in 2035?

Let us remember that the European Union plans to prohibit the sale of new thermal cars from 2035. Given the speed of progression of electric cars currently in Europe, the hypothesis of having to postpone this date no longer seems completely impossible.

Without a doubt, the face of the European car market could change rapidly in a few years with the arrival of new cheaper electric cars such as the Renault 5, the Citroën ë-C3, the Fiat Panda or the Volkswagen ID.2. But for now, automakers seem to be moving a bit blindly, and no one is able to accurately predict how customers will behave.

Ford Mustang Mach-E
Ford Mustang Mach-E (©Ford)

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