Electromobility: The big leap has yet to come

January 12, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The annual Electromobility Index from consultancy Roland Berger and the fka automotive technology research institute (Aachen, Germany) certifies Germany and France the leading positions in terms of technology. Though the market shows growth in all regions, the market share for electric vehicles is still very low.

The Electromobility Index periodically compares the competitive positions of the seven most important automotive geographies China, France, Germany Italy, Japan South Korea and USA in terms of technology, industrialization and market.

According to the study, Germany currently holds the technology pole position in the race about electromobility – a little bit surprising, given the success of Tesla in the US and the relatively high market penetration of electric vehicles in France. Wolfgang Bernhardt, Roland Berger Partner and expert for automobile markets, explains why. “Germany’s jump to the leading position is owed to the increased product supply and the extended battery capacity.” The product spectrum in partly and full-electric vehicles has been “significantly expanded”, he added. The product portfolio of the French OEMs is smaller and covers the market for cost-affordable compact cars in the first place. For this reason, the French EV vendors are second to none with regards to price-performance ratio.

“The study shows that all geographies are working intensively on the electrification of the automobile, however their respective focuses are different”, commented Alexander Busse, Consultant for fka. The price reductions for lithium ion batteries and the introduction of new cell generations enables carmakers to complement their product range with models that have a higher driving range.

The experts anticipate that regulatory interventions in metropolitan areas to reduce exhaust emissions will give a strong impulse to establish electromobility in the international markets. In cities like London, Paris or Mexico City, gasoline and even more so diesel engine will likely be banned. In addition, China has announced a legislative measure to establish a quota system for electric vehicles. Norway is discussing a complete ban on combustion engines from 2025.

A problem for car manufacturers is the dependence of the battery technology on certain raw materials (such as lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt and graphite) and their supply countries. For example, 95% of the reserves of natural graphite are in China and