Europe is basically 'giving away' electric vehicles, here's why
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European car companies are “giving away” electric vehicles to try and meet strict emissions requirements.
German customers can get hold of the new Mini Cooper Electric through competitive finance deals for as little as $43.50 per week. Which is about a quarter of what BMW (Mini’s parent company) charges as a minimum payment here.
The razor-sharp prices aren’t unique to Mini. BMW’s compact i3 electric hatch can be had for about €115 ($198) per month in Germany. Other cars such as the plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander and Hyundai Ioniq cost about €150 ($260 and €222 ($384) per month.
There are important differences between the deals – for example, Mini’s Euro bargain requires customers to keep mileage under 100 kilometres per week, and they will never own the car.
But they also reflect a requirement for car makers in Europe to reduce average carbon emissions for new cars.
Manufacturers must average 96 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre of travel in new cars sold in Europe, or face enormous fines from 2021.
Which is why electric vehicle reporter Matthias Schmidt says brands like BMW are “almost giving their MINI electric away in Germany with ultra-low leasing rates”.
It also means Australian and New Zealand outposts for major brands struggle to get hold of electric vehicle stock vital to European operations. For example, Volkswagen’s first electric cars aren’t likely to arrive locally until 2022 or 2023, allowing the brand to focus its attention on meeting European targets.
Kia designer Gregory Guillame said at the time that car makers “can’t sell normal cars any more”, and were effectively forced to sell electric vehicles.
Possibly even at a loss.