EV Charging Index: Geopolitical turmoil and economic downturn fail to dampen EV markets

EV Charging Index: Geopolitical turmoil and economic downturn fail to dampen EV markets

December 9, 2022

Third edition shows EV sales increased and charging infrastructure grew – but Europe the exception

The war in Ukraine, huge energy price rises and supply-chain bottlenecks are hitting the automotive industry hard this year. But, according to the latest edition of Roland Berger’s bi-annual EV Charging Index, the EV and EV charging markets are so far bucking the trend and riding out the storm.

The automotive industry has faced numerous challenges this year, but the markets for electric vehicles and charging stations have so far defied this and are developing positively.
The automotive industry has faced numerous challenges this year, but the markets for electric vehicles and charging stations have so far defied this and are developing positively.
"Due to the high electricity prices, more Europeans are questioning the cost advantages of EVs."
Portrait of Tim Longstaff
London Office, Western Europe

Despite significant headwinds and a contracting automotive industry, the global electric vehicle (EV) and EV charging markets are still powering ahead. EV sales and charging infrastructure grew in almost all regions in the first half of 2022, the third edition of Roland Berger’s EV Charging Index found, with sales up by 6% compared to the second half of 2021.

The Index, which covers 30 key markets and is based on 15,000 survey responses, also found that customer perceptions of EVs are little changed despite the global economic downturn and high energy prices caused by the war in Ukraine. But it wasn’t all good news – the results showed that European markets were hit hard by the price rises, with interest in EVs and sales dropping as a result.

China topped the Index, which is based on 27 key industry indicators, with a score of 81 out of 100. This means it has now finished in top spot in all three editions of the Index (editions one and two covered the first and second half years of 2021). Germany (71) and the Netherlands (69) finished in second and third place respectively, knocking the US (68) out of the top three. Meanwhile, the UK (66) reclaimed its position in the top five. Overall, the average score increased compared to the second edition of the Index.

"China is witnessing an even stronger consumer push for EVs, with EV sales now making up more than 25% of total vehicle sales."
Portrait of Ron Zheng
Senior Partner
Shanghai Office, Greater China

As well as scoring and ranking the 30 markets, the Index also provides in-depth analysis on the results and latest industry developments. The third edition focuses on three key areas: Customer perceptions; EV sales and penetration; and Charging infrastructure.

Changing attitudes

To gauge customer perceptions of EVs, the latest survey included new questions on customer interest in adopting EVs. These aimed to assess the impact of the energy price rises triggered by the invasion of Ukraine. In general, the higher fuel costs enhanced interest in EV adoption , particularly in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. But responses were far more muted in Europe, where electricity prices have jumped.

Perceptions on the acceptable price levels of EVs also shifted. While most respondents still think prices should be equivalent to traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, there has been a subtle rise in the number of people who believe EVs should be cheaper than ICE-powered vehicles. For example, the figure rose by 7% in the UK and 5% in Belgium, and 1% globally.

Regional disparities in the size of the rise in energy prices is behind most of the changes in customer perceptions. For example, Europe is particularly affected as it is highly dependent on Russia for its energy needs, and Russia has been limiting supplies to the continent. This has resulted in soaring electricity prices in the EU, making more Europeans question the cost advantages of EVs over ICE vehicles. The full report looks at the problem in more detail as well as assessing the effects of high energy prices on other regions.

Strong sales

Energy price rises and a supply-chain crunch in the automotive industry combined to hammer global vehicle sales in the first half of 2022. Purchases fell by around 2% compared to the second half of 2021. However, EV sales were a rare bright spot, growing by 6% globally compared to the second half of 2021. Total sales leapt from 3.8 million vehicles to just over 4 million. Again, regional performance varied. The APAC and North American markets remained the main drivers of the growth, while EV sales in Europe plummeted by 9%.

"The fundraising activities of private companies in the EV charging space are growing, indicating that the market is still attractive in 2022."
Portrait of Bob Zabors
Senior Partner
Chicago Office, North America

The high electricity prices in Europe also hit EV penetration, which fell by 3% since the second half of 2021. But rates remained stable or improved in all the other regions, increasing by 3% in the APAC region, for example. More details about Europe’s fall and APAC’s rise can be found in the full report.

Charging lull

Overall charging development slowed considerably, with Europe and North America showing particularly sluggish growth compared to the second half of 2021. However, the APAC region, and especially Southeast Asia, bucked the trend and recorded significant gains. The growth rate in the number of charging points in Southeast Asia leapt by 157%, for example. Driven by strong investment in China and falling EV sales in Europe, the overall EV-to-charger ratio fell from 2.1 to 1.9.

The Index found that insufficient charging infrastructure remains the biggest concern about buying an EV, with 53% of respondents choosing it. The figure rose to 70% in Southeast Asia. Overcoming the problem is high on many countries’ agendas. While venture capital investment in charging slowed significantly in the first half of 2022, countries such as India are looking to address the insufficiency challenge by combining public and private resources. You can read more about the development of charging infrastructure, investment and India’s plans in the full report.

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