Features
13 Jul 22

Fleets face wide gap in EV adoption across Europe

Countries in Northern Europe are switching to electric vehicles much more rapidly than Southern and Eastern Europe.

A new report outlines a clear chronology for pan-European businesses to follow when electrifying their fleets, starting with the European Union’s wealthiest countries.

The study by ACEA, the vehicle manufacturers’ association, highlights the correlation between GDP per capita and electric vehicle adoption. At the top end of the income scale, four countries account for 72% of all electric cars within the European Union, and the five countries with the highest EV market share are all in northern Europe – Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden.

At the other end of the scale, the five countries with the lowest average GDP per capita (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Slovakia) also have the lowest EV market share.

Download Fleet Europe’s guide: 2022 incentives for Electric Vehicles in Europe

This EV affordability gap means that while 18% of all new cars registered across the EU last year were electric or plug-in hybrid, nine of the 27 member states have an EV market share below 4%. Countries with an EV market share of less than 4% have an average GDP below €27,000, compared to more than €45,000 for the top four markets.

Charging infrastructure

The penetration of EVs within national new car markets matters to fleets, because it has a direct correlation with the installation of public charging infrastructure. Even if multi-national companies in poorer countries can afford to invest in EVs, they still need confidence that their drivers will be able to plug in nationwide.

“In 2021, more than 1 in 5 cars registered in the EU was electrically chargeable. This positive trend can only be sustained if governments start making investments in charging infrastructure and put in place meaningful and sustainable incentives,” said ACEA.

At the moment, the Netherlands (90,000 chargers) and Germany (60,000 chargers) account for 50% of all public charge points within the EU, despite covering just 10% of the EU’s surface area. Cyprus (57 chargers), Estonia (385 chargers), Malta (98 chargers), Latvia (420 chargers) and Lithuania (207) have the fewest.

Source: ACEA

This leaves fleet managers faced with a situation where 11 countries do not even have two charging points for every 100km of road; and six do not have one charging point along every 100km of road.

ACEA claims that the EU will need to increase today’s total of 307,000 chargers to 6.8 million, a rise of 22 times, to support Europe’s goal of reducing passenger car emissions by 55% by the end of this decade.

Light commercial vehicles

While car markets are making good progress towards zero emission motoring in some markets, electrification has yet to make a significant impact in the light commercial vehicle sector, where plug-in vans accounted for just 3% of sales last year, and diesel continued to dominate with 90% of the market.

Hydrogen

For fleets seeking an alternative to batteries to power the transition to zero emissions, ACEA also documents the availability of hydrogen refuelling stations to support fuel cell vehicles. Only Germany has a meaningful network, with 89 hydrogen stations, followed by France with 19. No other country has more than seven, and 17 not have a single hydrogen filling station.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning