Facts and figures unmask the 3 digit growth of the EVs theorem! Only Audi speaks clearly!

Jato Dynamics presented the data of the EV’s registrations in Europe. Hooray: compared to 2010, the sales grew by 938%! Nine-hundred-thirty-eight percent!! A successful market, despite the controversies. I feel the bad smell of lies. Over 7 million registrations, 5,222 were electric cars, less than 0.001% of the total market. Last year were 507. In Germany 1,020, France 953, Norway 850, 599 in England, in Copenhagen are sold just 283. In Madrid and Stockholm 122; in Italy … 103. Need we say more? Facts-and-figures worth a thousand words.

In Frankfurt (Sept. 12th) Carlos Ghosn, chief executive officer of both Renault and Nissan, remains bullish of the EVs market. Demand for Nissan’s Leaf has outstripped expectations “when we first predicted a 10 percent market share, people said we were being extremely optimistic, since then, it’s the experts who have increased their forecasts”, said the CEO – as reported by Bloomberg.

Facts-and-Figures. In Germany for those who choose a zero-emission vehicle the incentives given by the Government is only 380 euros; in Italy 1,200; in France 5,000. In Denmark – including tax breaks and deductions – approximately 20,000. Despite this big discrepancies, yet Berlin is the most important market, while in Copenhagen are sold just 283. Other data? The registrations of EVs in Spain, grappling with a difficult economic crisis, are identical to those of the rich Sweden: 122.

FOTO1 - Jato UE EVs Data September 2011


First of all congratulations to Jato International for the research they conducted: this is the first time we have the opportunity to know the “real” numbers. Beside this, I think that facts-and-figures count; those published after the Jato’s serious research are quite clear: in just one year an increase of 938% in the EVs total EU market!

You’ll see that someone ‘involved’ close to the reality of this market, in the coming weeks will exploit the data of this impressive “3 digits” growth! Maybe to ‘draw on’ more contributions from Governments or Investors, perhaps to give a jolt to the asphyxiated stock exchange, maybe to develop a new Mktg campaign for the EVs, or just to demonstrate he was right arguing that there is a market for these vehicles!

Of course there is a market! It ‘obvious that the current sales – though supported by great contributions/communication – are not in line with the real potential of this ‘philosophy of life’; although it is amazing to see that in the ‘ultra-environmentalist-ecologic’ Stockholm, only 122 EVs have been sold.

In any case these are interesting numbers. But really very far from the market share expected by ‘investors’; and very different from what announced in the last 3 years with blasts of trumpets and drum rolls by OEM, NSC and Governments.

As a further comment to these unexpected data, you should know that in the calculation are indented cars that should not be considered as an ‘purely’ electric – as Opel Ampera and Chevrolet Volt – and many hundreds of these five thousand were registered by NSC and OEM for drive-tests, press releases and promotions.

The whole supply chain of the EV’s is in late: the Car of the Year 2011 should have been available in the show-rooms since October 2010. Nissan scheduled 4,200 sales of Leaf during 2011 in Italy. It is not yet seen around, if not only during some events and exhibits with politicians and actors. The GM plant in Smyrna (Tennessee) has been closed and will reopen at the end of 2012; it was intended to produce 35,000 Volt in 2011. Other strange coincidences: the creation of the new Renault plant in Flins for the production of batteries for electric cars, initially scheduled for 2012, was postponed until 2014/2015. A few days ago was launched the first Kangoo ZE. Salesmen don’t even know it exists. Please, enter into a Peugeot dealership and schedule a drive-test with a iOn; it will be interesting to know what they will tell you!

Hey Friends, I really don’t know what will be the EVs forecast for the next 3 years. I only know what OEM and NSC declared in the past and will declare in the next months. Or what analysts and experts sustain. Im afraid that soon bombastic declarations will speak again about the 3 digit growth of the EU mkt (+938%)!


FOTO 2 Money MSala


Forecast were wrong, and declarations were… disputable. Nissan announced they has delivered 12,000 of the Leaf model since its introduction in December 2010, Carlos Ghosn said in Frankfurt. The Japan-based Nissan said the U.S. sales of the model totaled just 6,168 (last November it planned to sell as many as 25,000 units during the model’s first year). PSA Peugeot Citroen, It has sold 3,000 since Jan. 1. (the forecast was 7,000 combined deliveries of the iOn and C-Zero models for 2011). Opel and Chevrolet told they sold during pre-sales all the Ampera and Volt available. Also Renault sold some EVs; at Toyota and Honda they developed their ‘home tasks’. Only Fiat did not declare anything: obvious, they don’t have any EVs in their new products pipeline!

  • First question: need arithmetic? 12,000 (Ghosn declaration) minus 6,168 (Nissan US sales) = 5,832 (Nissan EU sales?). If we sum the sales declared by all the other manufacturers – PSA, Opel, Chevrolet, Renault, Tesla, Reva… – and the total of the EU sales is 5,222, who is telling ‘sweet little lies’? (Hey do you remember Fleetwood Mac?).
  • Second question: which is ‘the possibility’ of a new technology such as EV to penetrate the market quickly Vs conservative interests totally in conflict with the new technology (not just talking about fuel, but also distribution chain and plants) knowing also that the new technology is ‘much more’ expensive than the traditional one, and has some important limitations such as autonomy?

A Friend of mine – involved in the EVs business – he always tells me that this is a marathon not a 100m. sprint; who invests about EV has a long-term goal, do not plan to make money right away. But if you do not speak about… you will not even sell one! So, welcome bombastic communications and declarations!

Omino Bicicletta EVS

Only Audi speaks clearly (even if in a low voice)!

The MD of Audi, Rupert Stadler, in an Corriere della Sera interview – Oct 2nd, 2011 – speaking about the Audi’s programs, he mentioned the EVs vision and programs of the brand. Even premium brands will make their contribution to the reduction of carbon dioxide, but not before 5-10 years. “The current technology of the Audi is more targeted to hybrids, with or without plug-ins. Now are available A6 and Q5; and soon a new Q7 with plug-in technology and 50 kilometers range with the electric engine, plus other 550 with traditional engine“. 50 Km! This is what the current batteries allow at the moment. Audi is investigating new solutions that will be ready in 10 or 15 years; the new batteries oxygen-sulfur will allow a range of 500 kilometers. Soon there will be a pure EVs R8, with a range of 260 kilometers. It will be a laboratory to produce in small series.

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  1. Peter Viljoen says:

    Hi Maurizio, I have never understood the drive behind EV’s!

    Most of the world (and especially China) still uses fossil fuels such as coal to produce electricity. The energy balance illustrates that more CO2’s will be created generating the electricity used to charge the EV than a normal petrol or diesel car. So what is the point? Who is trying to fool who?

    Fuel cell technology and indeed hydrogen fueled vehicles seem to be the better long term investment to make, although they are also very energy intensive to produce. It is no surprise to me that EV sales are a disaster. I vote for a more sensible approach like hybrids and smaller engines which are already making a huge impact on reducing emissions.

    Kind Regards,


  2. Ricardo Oliveira says:

    Interesting article, Maurizio. As usual coming from my favourite italian correspondent!

    With EVs, auto industry is looking for another “Challenge” to keep the troops motivated. Is not about business now, not about huge demand. It is an interesting challenge for technicians and an opportunity to marketeers. Above all is a way to find something to fight for when traditional business model is dead. Money is done in emerging markets till it is possible.

    We have done an EV Mystery Shopping study in real showrooms in December 2010. In the field, only a minority believes in EVs.

  3. Maurizio Sala says:

    I received from my Friend Emilio – from Turin – his point of view:

    “I am convinced that only “huge” incentives, not in sight at the moment given the deep economic crisis we continue to experience, could convince people tu buy an electric car.

    The real future, even if also “supported” to make their price competitive, lay on hybrids, that have already numerous vehicles in operation in the USA and in Japan.

    My opinion however is that in the next few years (let’s say by 2015) the majority of Alternative Fuel Vehicles in operation will be gas (CNG or LNG) or ethanol vehicles, with some hybrids, but very few electic vehicles”.

  4. Dalia Anghel says:

    Well I think it is a ‘half’ lie. Some of the players on the automotive market would like to have the industry without fossil fuels in the near future. EVs hardly entered in Eastern and Central Europe and I am sure that it will take many years until EV will be the first choice of the customers. First there is no infrastructure created for EV (seriously how many hours are needed to charge an EV?) and second, I heard that the elements used for creating the battery for EV are even more difficult to get then fossil fuel.. In Romania the only 2 units of EV presented on the market have been ‘borrowed’ for a while by some VIPS for publicity. So basically there were no sales of EVs but the cars were registered on the Romanian market. These 2 units can be counted as registered sales, but they are not…..

  5. Ashley says:

    I was about to write about this. There has been so much hype surrounding the EV, for many years, but it seems the consumer really isn’t buying into it. I agree with the previous statement, that it’s going to take big incentives from the government to get people buying like manufacturers hoped. They are skeptical and who can blame them a car is the second largest purchase most people will make and it’s not an investment like a home.

  6. Ezio says:

    I am a staunch believer that for the next 5 years LPG and CNG vehicles are the only alternative technology available, low-cost, zero impact
    It can certainly be improved to increase reliability and decrease maintenance costs of these vehicles (I can say that Nissan is doing something in this direction), and improve communication with the customer who does not look like that drive a vehicle with Formula 1 performance.
    Sure, and the data show, hybrid vehicles will have a market and a growing share in the coming years, the pure electric I still really puzzling.

  7. Maurizio Sala says:

    “I’ve never given up on a sales target in my life,” Don Johnson, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales, told analysts and reporters on a conference call. His motivation might be linked to the man who set the 2011 target late last year: GM CEO Dan Akerson. And when the boss says 10,000, that’s what you shoot for.

    Need further comments?

    Read more:


  8. Yes, I have a comment…NO COMMENT!
    Until we are going to have this type of management there isn’t comment!

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