Europe Electric Car ‘Breakthrough’ Seen in 2022, Consultant Says

European carmakers and parts manufacturers estimate that electric vehicles will emerge from their niche status and become mass-market products by about 2022, according to a study by Ernst & Young.

The greatest hurdle for the cars’ acceptance is the perception that their range is too limited, the consulting company said in the 2011 European Automotive Survey of 307 managers at automakers and suppliers across the region.

“A breakthrough would be when there are at least 100,000 electric vehicles on the road in Germany, which is when you’d really notice them,” Peter Fuss, Ernst & Young’s automotive sector leader for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, told journalists at a presentation in Frankfurt. “But we saw in the music industry how long it took for CDs to take over from records.”

There were 2,307 electric cars on German roads as of Jan. 1, Stephan Elsner, a spokesman at the country’s Federal Motor Vehicle Office, said in a phone interview. A further 1,409 had been sold in Germany by the end of July, he said. The government aims to have 1 million electric vehicles on the nation’s roads by 2020.

Ernst & Young also found in its survey, which is held every other year, that 86 percent of managers expect their company’s business to improve in the next six months, as opposed to 1 percent who thought conditions would get “considerably worse,” according to Fuss’s presentation.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at

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