Report – Demand for green cars spurred by China image

The adoption of alternative powered vehicles is still just a speck in the dirt when it comes to new car sales in Europe or the United States, but China’s attitude towards the segment is pushing automakers into delivering more and more green models.

In 2017 the evolution of the green sector is positive, but it remains just a tiny part of the global auto market – with sales so far taking up about 4 percent of total registrations. In Europe things are moving fast – March was the third best ever month for the sector after December 2015 and 2016, when financial aids peak everywhere. The usual suspects – Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf electrics, as well as the plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander were on point, but still the segment only commanded about 1 percent of the sales. In the US, SUVs and crossovers still rule, but for the first time fully electric cars – Teslas, the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf, among others – took more than one percent of sales, a rise of 74 percent year over year.

The demand – or mostly the offer – is driven by the European emissions target of EU fleet-average CO2 target of 95 g/km in 2021, which is mostly mirrored at a global level, including – hopefully – in America. Another major driver for this is actually China. The first motivator is the well-known pollution issue stemming from the heavy industrialization of recent decades. But China is also looking to escape its famous foreign oil dependence – and at the same time is encouraging its local automakers to join this potential automotive revolution, with a plan to one day make its home brand viable for international evolution.