Roland Berger E-Mobility Index: Stagnant Plug-In Sales Due To No Promotion Of EVs, Boring Concepts

OCT 6 2015 BY MARK KANE 16

Sales figures and market share of EVs/PHEVs, Q3 2014 to Q2 2015

Sales figures and market share of EVs/PHEVs, Q3 2014 to Q2 2015

Roland Berger and Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka) recently released a report titled E-Mobility Index Q3 2015 with interesting comparisons for seven countries (Germany, France, Italy, the USA, Japan, China and South Korea) and findings.

First of all, Roland Berger sees the plug-in market as stagnant with “stubbornly low” market share. Lack of promotion on top of insufficient range holds back sales.  We’ll hold back our editorial view on his opinion, and just pass along this quote:

“The lack of coherent sales concepts is partly responsible for the weak sales figures. OEMs are not doing enough to win customers over to BEVs and PHEVs. Strategies are lacking for creating lasting incentives for dealers to sell low-emission vehicles.”

Roland Berger partner Thomas Schlick said:

“There’s very little, if any, promotion of electric cars going on. It’s no wonder potential customers are not getting interested in them.”

Part of the report is technological competitive positions between the world’s seven leading automotive nations:

“In terms of technology, France has overtaken Japan and is now in pole position. Behind this improvement lies a shift in the model mix of French OEMs in favor of smaller BEVs that offer good value for money. Japan is losing out by comparison because its OEM product portfolios exhibit only marginal technical development in the medium term. Japanese OEMs have no plans to roll out BEVs and PHEVs on a broad basis; instead, their strategy is to focus on full hybrids, which are not covered by this index. In the meantime, Germany is fast catching up with the three leading countries thanks to the growing share of smaller, more affordable PHEVs. As a result, German and French OEMs score almost exactly the same in the index despite their very different strategies: German OEMs focus on a broad-based rollout of more technically sophisticated but lower (electrical) range PHEVs, whereas their French rivals focus on small BEVs marketed at aggressive prices. All other countries remain at the same technical level as before, resulting in an ongoing stabilization of the overall competitive landscape in terms of technology.”

Despite all that (we think Mr. Berger will have to rethink his opinions very shortly), still pretty interesting is the cell manufacturers comparison made with Japan taking the largest share:

Cell manufacturers and production, by country, through 2017

Cell manufacturers and production, by country, through 2017

Source: E-Mobility Index – Q3 2015

Categories: General


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16 Comments on "Roland Berger E-Mobility Index: Stagnant Plug-In Sales Due To No Promotion Of EVs, Boring Concepts"

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China is catching up fast. In YTD-2015, China is very close to USA. May be if we count Sep sales, they are equal to USA.

Both Japan & Korea may lose the automotive market if they stubbornly stick with engines.

See how the Japanese lost the TV market.

China is ahead of the US in sales with more than a months margin.

Well . . . does that number count NEVs and similar small EVs?

Which definition of NEV do you mean? Chinese NEVs, american NEVs or european NEVs, german NEVs?

Depending on who you ask in germnay, some see the Volt as a NEV due to the lack of driving faster than 100 mph. I not 😉

NEV* – Neighbourhood electric vehicle = vehicle not intended for highway driving.

It looks like OEMs are grudgingly putting out EVs. They are forced to do so by various governments and are doing so kicking and screaming. The only one putting out EVs because they want to is Tesla.

Wow, a few nuggets of insight buried in big steamin’ heap of bulls***. Anyone with a brain and Google could put together a better report than this. The only point I credit them with, is that many automakers are dragging their feet, either in production or in marketing, or both. In terms of markets, the omission of the world’s top 2 markets by share – Norway and Holland – is glaring. At the very least they could have presented Europe-wide statistics, which are available from many sites. Then they would have seen that among the world’s top 4 market regions, 2 (Europe and China) are surging year-over-year, where as the other 2 (US and Japan-Korea) are indeed stagnant. However, further analysis (I’m talking about 5 minutes’ worth of checking, no PhD required) would indicate that in the US this is most likely a temporary pause in a rather steady upward march. And the following passage is downright bizarre and embarrassingly wrong: “Japan is losing out by comparison because its OEM product portfolios exhibit only marginal technical development in the medium term. Japanese OEMs have no plans to roll out BEVs and PHEVs on a broad basis; instead, their strategy is… Read more »

Agree completely.

We have hicups. The prius phv, the leaf, the volt. Only the prius phv seems a real loss in momentum. we have audi coming on strong.

I have no idea why the author put Japan above china, or left out norway, holland, california broken out (california is a bigger car market than most of the european countries, why not compare similar things). Growth is paused in 2015, for the cars that will hit volume production in 2016 (model X, gen II volt, 30 kwh leaf, outlander phev in US, etc).


Thank you very much for your cognizant and thorough analysis!

If anyone at Roland Berger actually got paid for creating that steaming pile of B.S., they ought to sign their paychecks over to you.

‘Forschungsgesellschaft’ . . . the German language cracks me up.

It’s just “research society” or maybe “research association”. Just separate: forschung-s-gesellschaft (the s binds them together). Germans love to build long words… and then use shortcuts for them.


“In terms of technology, France has overtaken Japan”
What makes him say that? PSA sells batched Mitsubishi i-MiEVs. Renault did well with the Zoe, but it is not that much better than the Leaf (and Nissan/Renault is an alliance AFAIK). The Berlingo electric is not bad, but uses a CHAdeMO port (Mitsu tec?) and is together with the Renault Kangoo comparable to Nissans e-NV200. IMHO they are pretty much on the same level.

I see Tesla and BMW as the biggest tec rivals BEV wise to Nissan/Renault. And let’s see what GM does with the Bolt.

Cavaron asked:

“‘In terms of technology, France has overtaken Japan'”

“What makes him say that?”

That is, indeed, the most bizarre assertion in this almost comically failed attempt at “analysis”.

Well, at least France was wise enough to work on EVs instead of getting mired in the fuel cell boondoggle.

“Stagnant Plug-In Sales Due To No Promotion Of EVs, Boring Concepts” This is like in the old days, when a doctor called to the scene of a death couldn’t find the actual cause of death, so wrote “Heart failure” on the death certificate. Well yeah, his heart did stop beating when he died, but that wasn’t necessarily what killed him. Likewise, EV sales being stuck at around 1% of the market is not actually due to lack of promotion, even if that seems to be the immediate cause. Legacy auto manufacturers are reluctant to promote EV sales for several reasons, not the least of which they don’t make as high a profit margin on EVs as they do on their core product, gasmobiles. When auto makers other than Tesla and BYD can actually make money by selling compelling EVs, then they’ll start promoting them. And that will happen only as the price of batteries comes down. It’s great that GM is now able to buy batteries from LG Chem at $145-150 per kWh… or so they claim, anyway. But that’s probably still slightly too expensive for GM to make as much profit on a Volt as they do on their… Read more »

Maybe VW will see the light and produce more plug-ins following their diesel fiasco.