Lack of models, not charging points, 'holding back electric car market

Analysis shows just 20 battery models on sale in Europe against more than 400 conventional one and there are expected to be 10 electric cars to every charging point in Europe by 2020

The rise of electric cars in Europe is being hampered by a lack of models for consumers to choose from rather than a lack of public recharging points, according to energy companies and carmakers

Some motoring groups and insurers have warned over the past year that the number of chargers is putting the switch to electric transport at risk.

But an analysis by the Platform for Electromobility – whose 31 members include Tesla, Renault-Nissan, Brussels-based campaign group T&E and industrial groups Siemens and Alstom – found there are already enough points in Europe.

Across the EU, there are about six electric cars for each public charging point, almost twice as many as the 10 cars per point recommended by the European commission.

Charging infrastructure is expected to keep pace with the number of electric cars on the road until at least 2020, based on a review of governments’ plans.

One fast charger is expected for every 40km of highway by 2020, well ahead of the one per 65km that Brussels wants by 2025

Greg Archer, one of the authors of the analysis, said: “It is a myth that has been spread by the car industry to create the impression they would love to sell more electric cars but there just isn’t the charging points out there. It’s a smokescreen."

A sufficient number of public chargers is essential if the electric car market is to grow beyond the early adopters who have access to off-street parking and can charge at home, the group said.

Provided governments deliver on their plans, it’s seen as unlikely that there will be a shortfall in public points

By comparison, carmakers have launched only a small number of fully electric models.There are just 20 battery electric vehicles on sale in Europe against 417 conventional petrol and diesel ones, according to T&E

Some of the electric models, such as the Opel Ampera-E – known as the Chevy Bolt in the US – are on limited supply and have months-long waiting times

“The car industry has deliberately suppressed the market for electric cars, which is shameful,” said Archer

Next Green Car, an online guide that monitors the electric car market, expects about 13 new fully electric car models in the UK this year.

These include the new Nissan Leaf, which is aimed at the mass market, and the high-end Jaguar i-Pace, the British carmaker’s first all-electric vehicle. A further 19 models are expected to go on sale in the UK during 2019.