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In Confidence: Falling demand for electric cars

11 months ago

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Jim Holder | Journalist


14 July 2023

‘We are experiencing strong customer reluctance in the electric vehicle sector.’ Spoken last month by Manfred Wulff, head of the works council for VW’s Emden plant as he explained an extended four-week summer break for EV workers, these are words that should send shockwaves through the entire automotive industry.

Rumours have been swirling for months that EV orders have slumped in the face of the cost-of-living crisis and a slew of negative, some might argue weaponised anti-green headlines. A few weeks ago two sources suggested to me that the number of private orders they had taken for EVs in a month at their respective manufacturers was lower than the number they had lost; but here is the proof that actual demand is not keeping up with what was anticipated.

So what, you might ask. If people don’t want EVs they won’t buy them – that’s market economics. Well, for manufacturers staring down the barrel of huge fines if they can’t hit emissions averages, fines that are only going to increase in size over time, it presents the potentially doomsday scenario of being forced to try to sell cars to people who don’t want them. While the situation is not the same for every car maker, average EV discount data already shows that many are having to pile in with incentives.

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