Unintended consequences of EV uptake

  26 January 2020

We’ve written a lot about car CO2 emissions recently because of the impact the new 95g/km target will have on not just car makers, but also retailers and customers. And I don’t expect to the volume of information to slow this year.

So it’s no surprise that this week we reveal that PSA Group has set UK retailers volume bonuses based on CO2 targets. If a manufacturer is facing millions of Euros in fines based on cars sold unless the targets are met, it’s going to do everything in its power to hit those targets. I would expect other brands to follow suit.

As we see the EU’s 95g/km CO2 target, through manufacturers and retailers, push more plug-in vehicles onto consumers’ driveways, there will be consequences. Some of these will be intended – such as lower CO2 emissions – and some will be unintended.

We’ve already reported that experts think we may need a standard battery life report for used plug-in cars to show how much storage capacity (and therefore range) is left.

Batteries are not like fuel-tanks. There’s no impact on capacity if you brim a petrol fuel tank from three-quarters-full every day. And in a conventional fuel tank you can use the entire capacity before your car stops.

The point is that mileage in plug-in cars will become less of an indicator of used car condition than it is in a petrol or diesel car, and this could impact values. Dealers could end up buying cars at auction or being taken as trade-ins that don’t have the range a buyer may expect. In turn this could create customer satisfaction and possibly warranty issues.

Similarly, for plug-in hybrids, those valuing cars may not know how much of the mileage has been done on the engine and how much on the motor.

While none of these things will be the retailer’s fault, it is going to be the retailer that deals with the customer and whose reputation is impacted.

The sooner there’s a solution, the better.

Tristan Young

Editorial director

Auto Retail Network

imageTags: BEV, CO2, EV, plug-in cars

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