European BEV market has increased eight-fold to 1.6 million units in four years, but challenges abound
In 2022, the BEV market (passenger cars) in 30 European countries stood at 1.58 million units, representing a share of more than 15% of the passenger car market – an increase of nearly eight times in four years, given that 2018 saw 200 000 units. Although the Corona disaster has not deterred the market and it is on a growth trajectory, there are various challenges, including price, charging infrastructure, supply capacity and deviations.
Product prices are rising rather than falling, and the charging infrastructure is not yet in place to the same extent as ICE vehicles. There is an urgent need to secure supply capacity within Europe for further expansion, but the EU has not been able to successfully counter the US IRA law, and VW has put its plans for Europe on hold, so it is difficult to say that things are progressing as intended. In addition, of the 1.58 million BEV markets in 2022, only 40,000 are in Central and Eastern Europe, with significant differences in penetration within the region. The share of BEVs in each country’s market is also low, with Norway at 80%, compared to less than 5% in much of Southern and Central and Eastern Europe.
A potential new problematic factor is the increase in the number of Chinese vehicles. This includes BEVs from Chinese manufacturers as well as BEVs from other regional manufacturers producing in China. Chinese brands alone overtook the South Koreans (6.9%) for the first time with a 7.7% share of the Western European BEV market in Q4 2022; BYD is ambitiously entering the European market, with a target to become one of the top three EV brands in Europe by 2030, with a 10% share. Other BEVs from other regional manufacturers producing in China include the Dacia Spring, whose sales in Western Europe have increased sevenfold year-on-year to 40 000 units, making it the ninth best-selling model in the model rankings. It is the leading low-cost BEV and is expected to grow in the future.The 2010s have been a challenge for where in Europe to build low-margin B-segment vehicles, but the same problems are still occurring in Europe in the BEV era, where production costs are high, and the solution does not seem to be easy.