German automakers produced 53,221 EVs in July of this year. That works out to 21.7% of the total number of cars produced in Germany that month. In March of 2020, just 6.8% of new cars produced were EVs and in January of 2019, only 3.2% of new cars were electrics, according to Energy Monitor. That, folks, is what an EV revolution looks like. Keep in mind that the Tesla factory outside of Berlin is almost ready to start churning out finished cars, which will skew the production numbers even further in favor of electrics.
Overall, German car production was down 26% last month compared to the same month a year ago, yet EV production was up 9%, according to data supplied by German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). Globally, total car sales shrank by 14% in 2020 compared with the previous year, but EV sales increased from about two million units to more than three million units, according to the International Energy Agency.
Volkswagen, Mercedes, and BMW are the Big Three of the German auto industry and all three have set goals for their electric car initiatives. Volkswagen expects 50% of its sales in 2030 will be EVs, rising to 100% by 2040. Mercedes is planning to go all electric by 2030 “where conditions allow,” which is a rather vague commitment. BMW says it expects fully electric vehicles to account for at least 50% of global deliveries by 2030 and has announced that its MINI subsidiary will sell only electric cars beginning that year.
We reported the other day on remarks by Akio Toyoda, the CEO of Toyota, who warned that the transition to electric cars threatened the entire Japanese economy. A recent study from Munich-based Ifo Institute warns that the systemic shift to EV production “will affect at least 178,000 employees.” All together, some 830,000 people are directly employed by the car industry in Germany, according to the German Federal Bureau of Statistics. The authors of the Ifo Institute study say the transition will be a “major challenge, especially for automotive suppliers, where medium-sized companies are dominant.”
However, other studies have concluded the transition to EVs will have a net positive impact on jobs because it will create new employment opportunities in transport. Furthermore, the German economy will benefit from dramatically lower fuel cost across all sectors, which will allow the money previously used to purchase fuel to be reallocated to revenue producing activities.
The EV revolution is starting to build momentum. You can feel it happening. Don’t look now, but by the end of this decade, the internal combustion engine may be consigned to the dustbin of history. That’s just what humanity needs to battle back against the ravages of an overheating planet.