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The development of EV sales in comparison to ICE sales is dependent on an enormous number of factors. At the recent Financial Times Future of the Car Summit (which took place in May 2019 in London and was sponsored by Linklaters), four key drivers for EV sales were highlighted:
Key drivers for EV sales include: cost parity with ICE vehicles, improved battery power density, the roll-out of sufficient charging infrastructure, and a regulatory environment that incentivizes the take-up of EVs."
The EU leads on stringency of global emissions performance standards. However, China is set to implement its China VI Standards which will both combine and add to best practice from both European and US regulatory requirements. The US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (or CAFÉ) standards are in the process of being challenged by the Trump Administration, and litigation has begun with respect to the ability of the State of California to set its own emission performance limits. The Trump Administration’s proposed “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule” would freeze fuel economy standards at 2020 levels through 2026, and reverse the increases scheduled in 2012 under President Obama.
Across EU Member States, targets for the reduction of carbon emissions are underpinned by policy initiatives seeking to reduce those emissions associated with the use of vehicles including the creation of aspirational longstop dates for the sale (and eventually use) of only those vehicles which emit low or zero emissions. Various countries are deploying low emission zones in their cities to enhance air quality (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels) and we expect to see the expansion of such zones in the years to come. Some countries, like France, have set targets for electric vehicle volumes.
On subsidies, whilst China has poured billions of dollars into the EV industry since 2012 as part of its efforts to combat air pollution, it has begun to phase out subsidies and expects subsidies to be completely phased out by 2020. Subsidies are available across the EU and in certain states of the US, and can vary significantly from one country to another both in absolute terms and in relative terms, as shown in the chart below: