Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

Focus

European car industry: China's electric quotas 'challenging'

  • Electric vehicle in Estonia (Photo: Peter Teffer)

The European car industry thinks it will be "challenging" to meet China's new electric vehicle quota, a spokeswoman for the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (Acea) told EUobserver.

Last week, China's ministry of industry and information technology announced that carmakers that sell over 30,000 vehicles a year must have 10 percent electric vehicles in their fleet, or buy credits.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The quota potentially provides an impetus for European carmakers to incentivise producing electric cars, something which the EU itself does not obligate via any quota regime.

Acea's spokeswoman estimated that all its members – including BMW, Daimler, Fiat, Ford, Peugeot, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo – each sell more than 30,000 vehicles in China annually.

According to data from analysis company IHS, Germany's Volkswagen sold almost 4 million cars in China last year, French car company group PSA and German company Audi each sold more than 600,000, while another German carmaker, BMW, sold just over 500,000 cars on the Chinese market.

In order to remain competitive in China, the new quota will likely force carmakers to think about shifting their focus. In particular German carmakers have in the past decade focused on developing diesel technology instead of electric vehicles.

The Chinese ministry said in a statement on its website that these carmakers have to fulfil the following requirement by 2019: 10 percent of the sold cars must be plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles, or the company should buy credits.

By 2020, the share of hybrid of electric should be 12 percent.

Acea's spokeswoman said that "meeting the 2019-2020 targets will be challenging, with the situation being different for each company. It will also be dependent on the demand-side policies".

She noted a key difference between the EU and China.

"In China, it is basically the same entity that both regulates and incentivises the market," Acea said.

"On one hand, the government is responsible for setting the rules and the targets that manufacturers need to comply with.

"On the other hand, it is also responsible for setting the framework conditions that will allow for a stronger market uptake of low emissions vehicles, such as monetary and non-monetary incentives and large-scale infrastructure deployment.

"Effectively, both carrot and stick are controlled by one single player, who is able to adjust and coordinate policies."

The car lobby organisation however noted that in Europe the deployment of infrastructure for electric vehicles, incentives and "consumer education" is the responsibility of 28 national governments, not of the European Commission.

For this reason, Acea is against an EU-wide quota for electric vehicles.

No quotas in the EU

The EU is currently not considering such a quota for electric vehicles. It is preparing a proposal with new rules to reduce CO2 emissions from cars, which are expected to be published in November.

At a press conference in August, commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva firmly excluded quotas for electric vehicles.

"We do not discriminate between different technologies," said Andreeva.

"Whatever we are working on, it will never target or promote one specific technology at the expense of others. We are talking about low-emission energy, so no quotas for electric cars are being considered or worked on," she said.

According to Acea's most recent market report, 1.2 percent of all cars sold in the EU in the first half of 2017 were electrically‐chargeable vehicles.

While that figure is still small, it is growing. Compared to a year earlier, it was 37.7 percent higher.

According to Eurostat, in 2016 a total of 1,699 electric vehicles were exported to China, up from 498 in 2015.

Analysis

EU transport sector has a CO2 problem

Although car manufacturers are reaching their CO2 targets for their fleets, car usage has gone up in Germany, while the gap between lab results and actual fuel consumption has increased.

Magazine

Back to the Future by Hyperloop

Cars that run on petrol or diesel are meant to be a rarity by the year 2050. Progress is slow. But some Nordic cities have radical visions of how a "Hyperloop" could change that.

New Commission CO2 rules for cars include some 'leeway'

Cars should emit 30 percent less CO2 by 2030, the Commission proposed, but carmakers will be allowed to miss that target (up to a point) if they manufacture a certain share of low emission vehicles.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia working on 'Plan B' for Nato
  2. Report: Hungary gagged EU on Israeli settlers
  3. Polls suggest draw after Johnson vs Corbyn TV duel
  4. EU ambassador to testify in Trump impeachment inquiry
  5. Hungary, Poland block EU conclusions on rule of law
  6. France: wide EU backing for enlargement change
  7. EU Council calls for policy action to protect marine life
  8. ECJ: Poland's judicial independence in doubt

Opinion

Merkel's China challenge - distance but engagement

The German chancellor's visit to China starts Thursday. She must signal to Beijing that Europe is serious and united in its newly critical approach to China - and show Washington that there are less destructive ways to deal with differences.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us