At the end of this year, leaders from around the world will gather in Glasgow, Scotland for vital talks on climate change and what can be done to tackle this pressing concern. The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) — which was delayed due to COVID-19 — is an opportunity to highlight the work that has already been done and perhaps more importantly, drive home the need to go further to ensure net zero goals can be met.
Every sector has a role to play in turning the tide. For those working in the automotive industry, the biggest fundamental shift will be in the move away from petrol and diesel vehicles to hybrid or fully electric vehicles. Essentially, the plan is to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel motors by 2030 or perhaps even 2025 across the European Union and the UK. This is a mammoth change for automotive manufacturers, especially with consumer demand yet to catch up to the new reality being set by governments across the region.
As an example, a report carried in Forbes says sales of electric cars in Western Europe will top one million for the first time in 2021, but that demand is expected to slow as the COVID-19 recovery gathers pace, with some concern that sales are being driven in part by government subsidies rather than true consumer demand. Regardless, by 2025 market share of electric vehicles is tipped to be somewhere in the range of 13-19%. This follows growth in 2020, which as we highlighted in our recent 2021 State of the Nation Recall Index report, saw sales of electric vehicles nearly double.
It will also fall on manufacturers to reinforce the need for motorists to start thinking about electric or hybrid vehicles when it comes to their new car purchase. As always, trust is an important element of this. Where there are negative headlines on manufacturers linked to their electric vehicles programme, it can be detrimental to getting buy-in from the public.
Additionally, addressing safety concerns will be paramount. Recalls in the automotive space are fairly common, as you would expect with products which carry a high degree of risk when something goes wrong. Indeed, manufacturers deserve a great deal of credit for the pre-emptive approach taken around recalls, with many being precautionary in nature. That means that consumers won’t necessarily turn away from electric vehicles if recalls occur, but they will expect any safety concerns to be addressed quickly and recalls (if required) to be carried out swiftly.
We’re well on the road to a new future for the automotive industry, but it is vital that manufacturers keep safety at the forefront of their minds. If they do so, the destination can be reached quicker than we thought and the world will be grateful for it.