LONDON, June 8 (Reuters) – The electric vehicle revolution has been stalled by COVID-19. Global new electric passenger sales are forecast to fall by 18% to 1.7 million this year, according to research company BloombergNEF (BNEF). (“Long-term Electric Vehicle Outlook”, May 19, 2020).
True, sales of combustion engine vehicles are forecast to fall by an even harder 23% as the coronavirus hits consumer spending, but it’s a dramatic change of fortune for the EV sector after 10 years of uninterrupted growth.
Moreover, automakers are now having to juggle retooling operations for EV production with simply staying in business as sales implode, while low oil prices compound the headwinds by flipping the cost-parity dial back in favour of internal combustion cars.
“The long-term trajectory has not changed, but the (EV) market will be bumpy for the next three years,” said Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport for BNEF. Faced with a stalling EV revolution, political leaders are about to provide a jump-start.
China, the world’s largest EV market, has reversed its intention of ending a subsidy scheme for new-energy vehicles but it’s Europe that looks set to provide the biggest accelerator.