Oct 15, 2019

The risky business of electric vehicles

Reproduced from IEA; Note: Government incentives includes direct spending and tax expenditures; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new International Energy Agency analysis finds that governments account for nearly one-fifth of global spending on electric vehicle purchases.

Why it matters: "The ability of governments to stabilize and then reduce their share of total EV spending will be a key test of the sustainability of the EV market in coming years," 2 analysts write in the Oct. 10 commentary.

  • "Unless government incentives adjust as the market increases, considerable pressure will be placed on public budgets," they add.

The big picture: Governments accounted for roughly 18% of total EV spending last year — a tally that includes both direct support and tax incentives.

  • That's roughly the same level as 2017, but the share generally rose between 2012 and 2017 and "could very well rise again in [the] future."

Threat level: They note the EV market is growing at "whirlwind speed" even though they remain a tiny share of overall sales.

  • "But because it relies on government payments that cannot rise indefinitely, this growth raises risks and uncertainty even as battery costs come down," it states.

The intrigue: Government support is falling in 2 key markets, and the early signs show that it's affecting sales.

  • In China, the world's largest EV market, a cut in subsidies this year has eaten into sales.
  • In the U.S., sales growth has also slowed as consumer tax credits are phased down.

Go deeper

Tesla, ChargePoint push building code changes to boost EV charging

An electric vehicle charging station. Photo:Matt Jonas/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images.

Electric vehicles are getting more popular, yet there aren't enough charging stations installed where people spend their time (at home, at work, at the store, etc.) to support widespread adoption.

The big picture: California's Green Building Standards Code requires 6% of parking spaces in new non-residential buildings to be EV-capable.

  • It also mandates that 250,000 EV-capable charging stations be publicly available by 2025 — but the state is running far behind that goal with only about 22,000 charging outlets so far.
Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

Electric vehicles see both gains and growing pains

The Volvo XC40 Recharge. Courtesy: Volvo

The slow global transition to electric vehicles is facing a mix of green and yellow lights.

Driving the news: Volvo has taken the wraps off its first fully electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, a small SUV unveiled yesterday that has a range of roughly 250 miles.

Go deeperArrowOct 17, 2019

2020 Democrats promise clean car agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While President Trump is moving to ease Obama-era tailpipe emissions rules, Democrats running to unseat him want to accelerate the shift to electric cars, trucks and buses and take gasoline-powered vehicles off the market entirely.

Why it matters: The 2020 presidential race could produce two vastly different outcomes for the auto industry, and that regulatory whiplash is hampering carmakers' long-term investment decisions.

Go deeperArrowNov 8, 2019