The Italy of the car started badly in 2022 and according to Gian Primo Quagliano, president of the Promotor Study Center, the prospects remain “decidedly unfavorable”, but the horizon of ACEA, the European association of vehicle manufacturers, is less dusky. The forecast is for growth of just under 8% around ten and a half million new registrations. This would be a recovery compared to the difficult 2021 (9.7 million, -2.4%), but still 20% lower than pre-Covid levels.
However, this figure is not enough to calm the climate and not only because it is not yet clear when the shortage of semiconductors is destined to end, which has forced practically all car manufacturers to suspend, reduce or reshape production in the course of 2021. The problem, according to the ACEA, it remains the refueling bottleneck for those who drive a battery-powered vehicle.
The significant growth in the volumes of rechargeable vehicles (purely electric or plug-in hybrids) offset at least in part the collapse in registrations of diesel vehicles and, more generally, of those with conventional engines. In Europe, these models accounted for a fifth of overall sales last year. The numbers are encouraging, but the ACEA returns to sound the alarm on the charging infrastructure.
Sales of electric cars grew tenfold between 2017 and 2021, while in the same period the number of public columns increased by less than two and a half times “, warned Oliver Zipse, rotating president of the Association and number one of the BMW group. “If this situation is not urgently addressed with the adoption of ambitious goals by all EU member states, we will very soon run into an obstacle,” insisted the German manager. It is not the first time that ACEA has urged the European Union to intervene in a concrete way for the expansion of the electricity supply network, whose poorly distributed capillarity (the concentration of the columns is high in some countries and almost absent in the easternmost of the continent), is considered one of the limits to the spread of electric vehicles.
ACEA expects a response that is not too different from that adopted on the microprocessor front: to reduce European dependence on Asian ones, the Community authorities have developed a 50 billion euro plan. The Association’s new request comes in conjunction with the debate on the so-called Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR), the package of rules on infrastructure for alternative fuels.