Volkswagen Spain CEO Urges Country to Speed Up EV Transition
The head of Spain’s biggest manufacturer’s lobby has called for an overhaul of the country’s auto industry to catch up with European peers and speed up the process of electrification.
The head of Spain’s biggest manufacturer’s lobby, Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (ANFAC), Wayne Griffiths, has called for an overhaul of the country’s auto industry to catch up with European peers and speed up the process of electrification. Spanish automakers are struggling to recover from a slowdown caused by the pandemic.
Like other countries around the world, Spain’s automobile production has been hampered over the past couple of years by semiconductor shortages, temporary factory closures and supply chain bottlenecks.
Griffiths, who is also chief executive of Volkswagen’s Spanish unit, SEAT, said “We cannot waste any more time.” while presenting the group’s roadmap through 2025. “We can’t afford to let 2023 go by without taking ambitious decisions.” he added.
Some of the key challenges the Spanish automotive industry faces are weaker than expected EV sales, an aging car fleet, which is hindering the country’s emission reduction and safety goals. Further complicating matters is an inadequate EV charging infrastructure, Griffiths said.
An estimated 78,000 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were sold in Spain in 2022, far below the 120,000 annual new energy vehicle (NEV) sales needed by the country to meet current emissions goals. EVs account for 9.2% of Spain’s total auto sales while the European Average is over 20%.
“Europe is splitting in two, and Spain is falling further and further behind leading countries.”, Griffiths said.
Some measures proposed by ANFAC to boost the NEV segment include modifying subsidies for EV buyers so they are directly applied to the purchase price in order to streamline the sales process, and setting binding targets for the deployment of high-power public EV charging infrastructure.
Griffiths said the industry ultimately needed to encourage consumers to make the shift to EVs, though he was aware that their generally high prices had put off some potential buyers. “I think there will be a step-by-step democratisation of electromobility. In 2024 and 2025, new models will come out at more affordable prices.”
EVs is another area where Spain lags behind its EU counterparts in the energy transition. The country is currently making changes to its energy policies and forging partnerships and agreements with other EU nations to maintain alignment in their energy transition efforts.
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