Everyone is currently talking about the slump in demand for electric cars. With all the problems, from the charging infrastructure to the lack of electricity and battery recycling, many people have always suspected that electric cars would never materialise. However, according to a study by Dataforce, the dip in demand should soon be over.

Demand for electric cars is still expected to stagnate in 2024, but market researchers are already forecasting rising market shares for 2025 in their EU Passenger Car Report 2024. Last year, 16 per cent of new vehicles sold in Europe were purely electric cars (BEVs), according to the data. According to the infographic from Dataforce (see cover image), a slightly declining share of BEVs is expected for 2024. However, the figure is expected to rise to 23 per cent as early as 2025, then to 33 per cent two years later and to 48 per cent in 2029. According to the analysis, more BEVs will then be sold than combustion engines.

This is because the combustion engine is expected to steadily lose market share - from an impressive 64 per cent last year to 55 per cent next year and then further down to 34 per cent in 2029. As a reminder: from 2035, the EU only wants to allow zero-emission cars. For hybrids and plug-in hybrids, Dataforce sees a minimal increase from 18 to 19 per cent, but then a slight decrease to 16 per cent towards the end of the decade.

The reason given for the forecast is that the cut in electric car subsidies will cause demand for BEVs to fall in the first few months of 2024. However, stricter EU requirements for CO2 fleet emissions will force a recovery by 2025 at the latest. According to the summary of the study (PDF), these limits were still 116 g/km in 2020, but will fall to 94 g/km in 2025, to 50 g/km in 2030 and to 0 g/km in 2035.

The research team also argues that technical progress, economies of scale and new competitors (presumably from China) will lead to price reductions for electric cars. Range and charging characteristics are also expected to improve significantly according to the study. In addition, CO2 taxes would make fossil fuels increasingly expensive.

New BEV registrations in Germany (lighter and with border)

New BEV registrations in Germany (with VDA forecast for 2024)

In the short term, however, the future prospects for electromobility are bleak. For example, the industry association VDA is forecasting a 17 per cent slump in BEV sales in Germany in 2024 compared to the previous year. In February, the VDA forecast sales of 451,000 BEVs for 2024 as a whole.

Automobilwoche is even more pessimistic, predicting only 350,000 new BEVs. That would be a third less than in 2023, when 524,000 electric cars were sold. Autozeitung's forecast was based on the registration figures for January to April. In these four months, 111,005 BEVs were sold in Germany; the BEV market share was 11.8 per cent. For the year as a whole, our colleagues are forecasting just under 13 per cent.

The bottom line

InsideEvs is an electric car magazine, but that's not why we are optimistic about electric car sales - we distinguish between wishful thinking and reality.

But the Dataforce market researchers' argument does make sense. The EU limits are forcing car manufacturers to lower CO2 fleet emissions. If the consumption of combustion engines does not fall dramatically or PHEV sales increase (for which the official emissions are unrealistically low), manufacturers will have to sell more electric cars - through improved products and/or price reductions. Of course, all this only applies if the EU does not row back on the CO2 targets.