Covid-19 and the EU car industry: any support should lock in EV targets
The coronavirus slump has come suddenly and hit hard. The deep thinking has already begun on the economics needed to turn around that slump without damaging our rising emissions ambitions. Julia Poliscanova at Transport & Environment looks at the car industry. Some have called for the new CO2 standards coming in 2020 to be postponed (though, notably, VW and BMW still support them). She explains that total car sales were already declining in January and February, a trend that cannot be blamed on the pandemic.
In contrast, EVs have been achieving record sales. As CO2 targets are for the fleet average (not individual models), falling total sales need not overturn the electric/petrol mix and a firm’s ability to meet the rising targets and their commitment to EVs. Consumers with smaller budgets may even help if they now buy smaller cars: be they EV or gasoline, both are better for emissions. On the subject of taxpayer bailouts, many car firms made profits in the billions in 2019, so any pandemic-linked support should be limited, says Poliscanova. If given, it should maintain the EV momentum: pro-EV scrappage schemes, charging infrastructure and grid upgrades, public money in exchange for higher emissions targets. The car industry bailouts of the 2008/9 crisis did little for EVs, despite promises to do so. This time it should be different.
To read the full article on Energy Post, please see here.