April 2024 Editorial – EPN Consulting Newsletter


A few years ago we started being bombarded with news about a quickly-needed transport electrification, therefore cars manufacturers began a strong competition to renew their programs and radically change the offer: reducing the number of models equipped with traditional Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) in favour of full hybrid and then fully electric (i.e. BEV=Battery Electric Vehicle) cars. Some of them indicated years – ranging from 2025 to 2035 – when the production of traditional engines would stop and only fully EVs would be available for customers.

Aligned with this new trend were cities and countries: some of them announced 2025 as the first reasonable date to allow sales of EVs only and some others started enthusiastically with similar dates with then ending by postponing by 5-10 years this date, because one thing is the exciting theory and another thing is the pragmatic – and sometimes disappointing – reality.

Some countries also highlighted the problem of what could have been the situation in about twenty years when a mix of full EVs and traditional ICE cars would circulate in our cities: should an economic incentive be introduced to scrap ICE vehicles even if they were a handful of years old? No solution has been provided yet.

Then, we arrive to the current days in 2024 where we read from more sources that sales of EVs (in particular Tesla) have dramatically diminished. On the Financial Times I have recently read this article “IEA bullish on electric vehicle sales in 2024” where

“Both Tesla and BYD — the world’s first and second-largest EV manufacturers — reported a strong drop in sales in the first three months of this year compared with the previous quarter. On a year-on-year basis, deliveries fell almost 9 per cent for Tesla while rising 13 per cent for BYD, although the figure was nowhere near the 85 per cent annual growth the Chinese group reported in the first three months of 2023”.

In some European countries, governments opened incentivisation programs for buying EVs at a cheaper and affordable price, but they don’t seem to have stimulated enough demand.

Some experts repeat the same chicken-and-egg story: it will be difficult to have people convinced about choosing to buy an EV until satisfactorily widespread charging stations networks will be implemented. And, of course, we are talking of fast-charging stations because it is not practical suspending a journey for 30 to 60 mins for charging the vehicle battery when in 5 mins anyone can fuel an ICE vehicle!

In July 2023 the EU approved a new law to add more chargers across Europe. The new law will ensure that EV owners in Europe can travel across the bloc with complete coverage, allowing them to easily pay for charging their vehicles without apps or subscriptions.

But another question comes to our mind: where we could find all the energy needed to charge an expected growing number of EVs? With the current situation, I am pretty sceptical that this could be possible, despite taking into account Smart Grids would have already been widely adopted.

On the last issue of the Economist, the article “Carbon emissions are dropping—fast—in Europe” proposes an interesting thought:

“The best way to decarbonise is to electrify as much as possible. But the share of electricity in total energy consumption in Europe has been moving sideways at around 21% for the past decade. […] An efficient renewable-energy system requires deep European integration. French nuclear, Danish wind, Spanish solar and Norwegian hydropower work best if they all feed into one European system”.

As we can appreciate, the topic is very complicated and it is not yet clear which future we are going to have in the next couple of decades.
At least, something is happening and time will tell us whether we are moving toward the right direction or not.

Stefano Mainero
EPN Consulting and EPN Consulting Research and Innovation, Founder & CEO

Article written by human beings without any use of AI. EPN Consulting Ltd. copyright 2024