EV market share will grow 40% in Europe in 2024, ACEA forecasts

EV market share will grow 40% in Europe in 2024, ACEA forecasts

Automotive News Europe — 2023-11-29

Automotive Industry

The market share of battery-electric vehicles in the European Union will grow by 43% next year, driven by a surge of new models, industry association ACEA predicts.

The share of BEVs will rise to 20% in 2024 from an expected 14% in 2023, ACEA President Luca de Meo said, although the overall market is forecast to grow only slightly next year.

De Meo, who is CEO of Renault Group, said the launches of affordable BEVs will help to boost EV share.

"There will be a product effect from that. We are trying to apply EV powertrains on products that are more mainstream and in the core of the market,” said de Meo, citing upcoming small EVs such as the Renault 5 and future low-cost EVs from Volkswagen Group.

Those cars will use smaller and less expensive batteries, helping to lower prices and increase demand. The Renault 5 will sell for about 25,000, and models from Citroen and Renault will be under 20,000 in the next two years.

Low 2024 growth

The overall EU market will grow by about 12% this year, said ACEA’s director general, Sigrid de Vries, for a total volume of about 10.4 m cars, which is 20% below the 2019 pre-pandemic figure. The 2023 forecast is an upgrade from ACEA's forecast in January of 5% growth. 

Growth in 2024 will be about 2.5%, with volume at 10.7 m units, de Vries said. Other analysts, including ING bank and the Economist Intelligence Unit, have cited similar, low-single-digit figures for Europe.

ACEA's forecasts came as automakers around the world are facing a slowdown in the growth of EV sales, as countries such as Germany pull back on subsidies, consumers balk at paying high prices and the charging infrastructure continues to develop slowly and unevenly. 

That has thrown into question pledges by automakers to sell only full-electric cars well ahead of the EU’s 2035 deadline to ban sales of new combustion engine cars. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said recently that his automaker could change strategy "if political and public opinion tends toward fewer EVs."

'No way back'

De Meo said the European auto industry remained fully committed to meeting zero-emission targets, mostly though battery-electric vehicles, although he said in the future there could be a place for hydrogen fuel cell and synthetic e-fuel powertrains.

"We will have ups and downs on EVs, but in long term, there’s no way back because it’s written in the rules,” he said, referring to the 2035 Green Deal regulation.

The political landscape in Europe and the US, which has been favorable to EVs in recent years, could shift in 2024, when a new European Parliament and US president are chosen.

ACEA, which represents most major passenger car and truck makers in Europe, with the notable exceptions of Stellantis and Volvo, released its legislative priorities for the years 2024-29 on Wednesday.

Among them are a comprehensive industrial strategy across all steps of green and digital supply chains and a reduced pace of new regulations.

De Meo said that the sector was confronted with eight to nine EU regulations coming into force every year until 2030, some of them conflicting. 

"If regulations are pushing up the cost of the product, then the market will be much smaller than in the past,” he said. "We clearly see the pressure of people not being able to afford new cars.” 

Industry wins concessions

During the current legislative session, ACEA has pushed the EU for "technology neutral” emissions regulations, and has generally opposed most aspects of proposed new Euro 7 pollution rules, saying they are too costly, do not give automakers enough time to comply and divert investment from the real goal of zero-emissions vehicles.

But the industry has won some notable concessions from regulators in recent months. The current Euro 7 proposal is much weaker than first envisaged, with most passenger car emissions levels essentially unchanged from the current Euro 6.

An exception for synthetic e-fuels has been carved out of the EU’s 2035 deadline to sell only zero-emissions vehicles. In the UK, Europe’s second biggest market, the government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pushed back a zero-emissions deadline to 2035 from 2030. 

And in the face of potential competition from low-cost cars built in China, the European Commission has started an investigation into what critics say are unfair subsidies given to domestic automakers there by the Beijing government.