And the Møller boss wants politicians and the rest of the car industry involved in a new hairy goal.
18 August 2022, 09:10
Volkswagen will cut off all sales of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars in Norway on 1 January 2024. Director Ulf Tore Hekneby of Volkswagen importer Harald A. Møller will announce an event at Arendalsuka on Thursday.
This means that Volkswagen will therefore switch to fully electric passenger cars two years before the authorities’ goal that 100 percent of all new car sales in Norway must be zero-emission cars by the end of 2025. In other words: No Golf, no Passat, no Tiguan.
However, Hekneby puts a wish behind the law. He wants the authorities, organizations and industry colleagues to help set a target for when at least half of the car fleet will be zero-emission cars.
– The 2025 target has been a huge success, with cross-party agreement and good means of action. But we are only a little bit along the way, because there is still a very large part of the car fleet on the passenger car side that are not zero-emission cars. Only 18 percent of the car fleet is fully electric today, and when we look to the future, we have to look at what that target should be, he tells Tek.no.
Hekneby refers to a report from the Institute of Transport Economics, which has calculated that 50 per cent of the car fleet would have been electrified in 2036 if all instruments and incentives had been retained as they are today, including zero VAT.
– But then the authorities have decided that there will be VAT on electric cars from 1 January next year, and then TØI says that it will take longer, probably 2042. We think that it is not realistic to get anything done with the decision on the VAT, and we respect that. At the same time, we think that we should be aggressive, with a goal that more than half of the passenger car fleet should be zero-emission cars in 2040. We have not calculated and calculated, but want to set out that bait and target. We have to get the politicians, the interest organizations and our colleagues in the car industry involved, then we have a chance of achieving it.
Exactly what the year should be, Hekneby wants to discuss later in the autumn, but in any case he wants to ensure that Volkswagen is at the forefront – ideally five years before the rest of the market, so if the figure is 2040, Volkswagen will be there in 2035.
– We are in a better position than the market today, with a zero-emission share of the car fleet of 22 per cent, says Hekneby, who naturally still wants strong incentives from the authorities to ensure further electrification. He points, for example, to the scrap deposit as a tool that can be used to bring about faster replacement of the car fleet.
– If we can achieve a new long-term goal that everyone is behind, then we will go ahead and cut off sales of diesel, petrol and plug-in hybrid cars at Volkswagen by 1 January 2024. In that case, next year will be the last year we sell such at Volkswagen, which for a number of years has been Norway’s most purchased car brand. It is a strong signal to both politicians, consumers and colleagues in the industry.
When we ask if the goal is a claim or a desirecommunications director Øyvind Rognlien Skovli clarifies that they are going ahead regardless, but that they “hope and believe it helps to bring in all good forces”.
So far this year, just over 6,900 of Volkswagen’s 8,500 newly registered passenger cars are fully electric, a share of just under 81 percent. ID.4 is the clear leading star, with over 5,400 registered users. But Volkswagen is far from the only one with a strong share of electric cars in Norway. Group sister Audi boasts 97 per cent so far this year, and both Hyundai and Nissan have over 90 per cent.
Hekneby says that it is primarily the delivery situation that determines how large the share of electric cars will be for Volkswagen in 2022, and that the share of electric cars would already be significantly higher if they had been able to deliver all the cars in their order bank.
– The delivery situation is demanding, but we feel that the customers have a great understanding of the situation and are patient. They are willing to wait for the electric cars, and that means that it will only be a matter of delayed sales and not lost sales, as we are experiencing the situation now. Everyone understands that it is about a pandemic, war in Europe, shutdowns in China – a number of factors that come into play and that happen outside of everyone’s control.
– What does the delivery time look like for Volkswagen models if I order now?
– There is a great deal of variation, and depends, among other things, on whether you will have a car with or without four-wheel drive and which equipment you choose. You can get an ID.4 with two-wheel drive this year. With four-wheel drive, it is difficult to tell when it will arrive in the country. But we have both cars with two-wheel drive that are in Norway and cars with production space that have not been sold and that can be delivered this year, says Hekneby, who predicts an electric car share of 90 percent or higher next year.
– You are not afraid that this will be perceived as symbolic politics without practical implications, since you are already so far on your way to the goal?
– This is not intended as an “obvious act”. Back when the 2025 target was set, it was not obvious that it would be easy. It has not been done overnight, we still have to work hard to ensure that we have a large number of fully electric cars that are sold new every year. But we are willing to talk about the numbers and adjust them to make them ambitious, says Hekneby.
Secretary General Christina Bu of the Electric Vehicle Association is satisfied with Møller’s electric car ambitions.
– I think it’s great. It is brilliant that parts of the industry are showing that a hundred percent zero-emission share is entirely possible to achieve, even before 2025. We know that the faster we get to one hundred percent electric new car sales, the faster we will cut emissions. When that is what they offer, then that is also what people have to buy, says Bu.
However, she also presents a challenge to the Møller manager.
– This applies to passenger cars. What year do they put on vans? Vans are also part of the 2025 target, and I hope that Møller also works to electrify its van fleet, because we are lagging far behind there. Electric vehicles have a market share of 17 per cent so far this year, compared to 78 per cent for passenger cars, says Bu, who also believes that the 2040s is not particularly ambitious.
– I think it will happen much faster, she says.
Bu also calls for other objectives at a higher level:
– It is about sustainability in electric car production, and investing in Norwegian industry, battery factories, sustainable battery production and not least about electrifying goods and heavy transport.
– But now there are many other countries that also have larger electric car sales, and therefore there will be greater competition for the cars. Therefore, I think it is very good that Møller leans forward and gives a clear signal that the cars they will sell must be fully electric.
18 August 2022, 09:10
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