Audi is cutting production of the electric e-tron by 20 per cent this year due to battery shortages. But could it be connected to new CO2 rules for 2021?
More and more electric cars are arriving on the market as car makers pile down the EV route. But, so far, it’s a direction not driven by demand from consumers but by the desperate need to hit average CO2 targets set by governments for car makers.
But it seems the push by car makers is creating the demand from consumers, certainly if the waiting lists for many new EVs is to be believed, and it appears much of that waiting list is down to a shortage of batteries.
If you want an electric car like the Kia eNiro or Hyundai Kona Electric you’ll have to join a waiting list, and you won’t have a prayer of getting in to one until 2020. The same situation applies to other EVs, and now it seems you can probably add Audi to the list of EV makers cutting production because battery supply is poor.
According to the Belgium press, Audi is cutting production of the new e-tron by 20 per cent for 2019, reducing it from around 55,000 to 45,000, apparently due to a shortage of batteries. It is also delaying production of the e-tron Sportback until 2020 for the same reason.
It all sounds perfectly plausible that a battery shortage is slowing production of EVs, but the more cynical could see it differently.
Car manufacturers face big fines for CO2 averages from 2021
By 2021, car makers have to reduce their average CO2 to 95g/km (adjusted for each car maker based on the mix of sales) or face huge fines, with a fine of €95 for every 1g over the limit multiplied by the number of cars sold. So if, for example, a car maker sells 500,000 cars and is just 2g over target they face a €95 million fine. Estimates say car makers could face combined fines of from €2 billion to €11 billion from 2021, and the new target calculations actually start in 2020, although based on a car maker’s 95 per cent least emitting sales.
But EVs could be a salvation for car makes in the battle to meet CO2 targets as they count as being zero emissions (even if that is only at the point of use), and the bigger the percentage EVs make of a car maker’s sales the easier it will be for them to continue making big, profitable ICE cars.
Not only that, but in 2020 every electric car sold by a manufacturer will be counted twice in its average CO2 calculation (on a reducing scale going forward), which gives every car maker a huge incentive to sell more EVs from 2020 than it does now.
Of course, we’re sure that has nothing to do with the ‘battery shortage’ reducing EV production in 2019.