T&E Study Wrongly Blames Automakers for Lack of Affordable EVs


A new study from NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) has “found” that automakers are to blame for a lack of low-cost electric vehicles in Europe. The study found that only 17 percent of electric vehicles sold in Europe are B-segment (compact) vehicles and only 40 fully electric models were launched in the compact (A and B) segments between 2018 and 2023. Compared to 66 launched in large and luxury model segments (D and E).

The “study,” which is merely a look at statistics in the marketplace, failed to account for any factors other than what was introduced and what was sold. Interestingly, the data also showed that in the larger markets, electric vehicles held double the sales of their internal combustion counterparts. But this is couched in pricing numbers where comparisons of European price upticks for vehicles versus Chinese drops in pricing were also given.

European carmakers are holding back the mass market adoption of EVs by not bringing affordable models to consumers faster and at volume. The disproportionate focus of manufacturers on large SUVs and premium models means we have too few mass-market cars and too high prices. —Anna Krajinska, vehicle emissions manager at T&E

This so-called study, clearly driven by an agenda and using statistics to prove that, includes no information about costs to meet European standards, government intervention in Europe and abroad that is reflected in costs, and includes substantial verbiage (including that quoted above) that clearly states the authors’ objectives.

The T&E publication ignores the costs associated with building an electric vehicle versus its internal combustion counterpart. And the costs built-in to any manufacture of a vehicle due to European regulations. In a traditional internal combustion engine-powered vehicle, the average costs to build are roughly 45-47 percent materials, and 20-25 percent for labor. In the lower-cost compact vehicle segments, however, those numbers are off as profit margins are much lower. A typical A-segment car has a 10-15 percent profit margin versus the 25+ percent of larger segments.

Now factor in that the cost for a battery-electric vehicle raises materials prices by about 30-40 percent and drops labor by about 10-15. Leaving little to no profit in an A- or B-segment vehicle upon sale.

Such blatantly biased language and questionable use of statistics to “prove” a point should only be in the repertoire of charlatans and hacks. T&E does itself a disservice by falling into this trap.