Study: Cheaper electric cars and more charging points right at the switch

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) now have a market share of 18 percent of new registrations, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), an international environmental research organization. Easier market access, especially for people on lower incomes, is essential to achieving the federal government’s climate goals.

This conclusion was reached by a monitor funded by Stiftung Mercator, for which ICCT analyzed the current situation on the German electric car market.

“Our analyzes show that the transition to battery electric cars is increasingly socially accepted in Germany. However, with respect to the participation of all social groups, there are still significant barriers to market penetration.

For example, charging infrastructure is not evenly distributed geographically, and high initial investment slows down the participation of people with lower incomes in the market,” says Peter Mock, Managing Director of ICCT Europe.

“The drive transition will only be successful if all social groups can get involved in electromobility,” explains Lars Grotewold, head of climate protection at Stiftung Mercator. “Costs and opportunities must be equitably distributed, both socially and geographically.”

Otherwise, large sections of the population risk being systematically left behind when electromobility takes off. It would then not be possible to reduce operational emissions as quickly as necessary. At the same time, the necessary social support for this important restructuring would be reduced.

Main results of the ICCT assessment:

  • From January to October 2023, battery electric cars achieved an 18 percent market share of new registrations. This means that market adoption of the technology has reached an early majority stage.
  • New registrations of battery electric cars are unevenly distributed geographically. The five regions with the highest shares of BEVs in new registrations in 2022 are in the north, west and south of the country.
  • From January 2021 to December 2022, the charging infrastructure almost doubled. The number of regular charging points increased from 36,000 to 70,000 and fast charging points from 7,000 to almost 15,000. However, they are geographically unevenly distributed and are mainly concentrated in urban regions.
  • There is a striking difference between the commercial and private car markets: commercial players, who account for two-thirds of new car registrations, choose battery electric drive for only 14 percent of new car purchases (2022), compared to almost 25 percent for private registrations.
  • Comparing the total costs of two comparable battery electric and gasoline vehicles in the compact and small car segment over a four-year period, BEV has a clear advantage of 12,300 euros in the compact car segment, taking into account the purchase premium from the state and manufacturers; In the small car segment, there is an advantage of 1,100 euros.

“The used car market is key for economically weaker groups whose development directly depends on today’s new car market.

Since commercial players register two-thirds of new cars but choose battery electric cars much less often than private individuals, there is leverage: If we achieve a higher proportion of electric vehicles in new commercial registrations, we can increase market penetration in the accelerating new and indirectly also the used car market.

This means that social groups for whom purchasing a new car is not an option for economic reasons can more quickly engage in the transition from combustion to electric cars,” says Sandra Wappelhorst, ICCT Europe’s senior researcher and lead author of the report.

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