Green cars in Europe in 2014, five ideas

MoteurNatureThe European plug-in hybrid market will belong to Volkswagen
There was the Chevrolet Volt, but GM has announced it will stop selling Chevrolet cars in Europe, so the Opel Ampera will be left as the only contender from GM in the plug-in hybrid market. It won’t be enough as the Ampera is a bit pricey for an Opel, and the upcoming Cadillac ELR will be even more so. Ford has yet to launch its plug-ins in Europe, and Fisker is gone. There’s the Prius plug-in, and it could be a strong contender, but its range in electric mode is just too short, while plug-ins from Mitsubishi and Volvo have limited appeal. That’s not the case of the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, but few people can afford it. There’s no doubt that the upcoming Audi A3 e-tron will become the market leader as soon as it’s available. The plug-in hybrid Golf will follow, and it will give the Volkswagen group a very clear lead of the plug-in hybrid market.

Renault won’t lead the electric car market anymore
The sales leaders in the 2013 European electric car market were Renault, Nissan and Tesla (in this order). This will change hugely in 2014 since BMW and Volkswagen have launched their own electric models. Tesla also will grow in 2014. Its Model S was only available in the second half of 2013, and the company still has a long list of customers waiting. Providing there are no production constraints, sales of Tesla in Europe should triple in 2013. Overall, the electric car market will grow, but Renault won’t lead it anymore. At fault, its choice of selling incomplete cars, where the battery must be leased.

Germany will be the leading European country for EV sales by volume
It already happened during two months, but for the complete year, France remained the leading electric car market by volume in Europe, during 2013. It will change in 2013, now that German EVs from BMW and Volkswagen are available to German consumers. The shocking part is that there is a large €6,300 cash incentive ($8,591) for buying an EV in France, while there isn’t anything in Germany. Sometimes, money isn’t enough… Nothing will change for Norway, which will keep its crown for being the country where EVs enjoy the highest share of the overall car market.

Large SUVs will disappear of the European market
They’re called Chelsea tractors in London, and in most of Europe, there are many greenies who don’t understand how some people living in the city can drive large and heavy four-wheel drive vehicles, despite the fact that they never go off-road. The overall SUV market will keep on growing this year, but the SUV has changed a lot. It’s now smaller, lighter, and it has exchanged its four-wheel drive transmission for a traction control on the two front wheels. 2014 will only accelerate this change, as there’s a new €8,000 ($10,910) tax in France, for buying a gas-guzzler like a Toyota Land Cruiser, or a Mitsubishi Pajero (Shogun in some markets). Nissan has already stopped selling its Patrol model in Europe, others should follow this example. The only SUVs which will remain in Europe are the smallest ones, like the Peugeot 2008 or the Renault Captur.

CNG will keep on growing as an automotive fuel
The fleet of vehicles driving on natural gas will break the 100,000 barrier in Germany, and the million in Italy. Unfortunately, CNG’s development varies hugely from one country to the next, so the two digits increase this fuel enjoys in some countries doesn’t translate into a big change at the European level.

These subjects, and many more will make the headlines in 2014. Follow us for more.