Ghislain Favé, Climate-Energy Consultant
Despite the severe slump affecting the automobile industry following measures to stem Covid-19, the progress of electric cars carries on unabated and continues to attract both carmakers and consumers. Boosted by national recovery plans, stricter local regulations, and manufacturers’ decarbonization programmes, the penetration of electric vehicles is nevertheless subject to another trend that undermines both climate targets and low-energy carbon-free transportation: the SUV boom.
Electric vehicles have largely benefited from the reorganization of the automotive market, prompted by recovery plans, urban policies, and the strategies of car manufacturers waging on electrification and the programmed demise of internal combustion engine cars. Some manufacturers have even announced a move to all-electric that outpaces the strategies established by States.
Boosted by its new emissions standards, Europe has outstripped China as the leading global market for electric cars, while the trend is struggling to take hold in the United States. However, the existing fleet is still largely dominated by combustion engine cars, and electrification is only a drop in the ocean compared to another strong trend in the sector: almost one vehicle in two sold in the world today is an SUV, and the growth of their sales constituted the second source of increased GHG emissions before the pandemic, according to the IEA.