Until recently electric power has been significantly less expensive than petrol, providing a natural accelerator to the transition away from the internal combustion engine in the direction of ‘clean’ electric vehicles.
However, the explosion in fuel costs largely as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has altered the equation.
In Germany there is growing concern that the shift to electric cars may be halted in its tracks.
Commercial charging stations raised their prices by about 10 percent at the beginning of September while retail outlets such as supermarkets have started charging customers who previously could plug in for free while they shopped.
Stefan Bratzel, a founder of the Centre for Automotive Management, has warned of a direst threat to the move to electric vehicles: “The electricity price explosion could end up being an acute danger for vehicle transition, and we need to be damn careful about it… If electric cars become more expensive to use, the surge in electric mobility is in danger of collapsing, because hardly anyone is going to buy an electric car.”
Alas for the consumer, rather than continue with subsidising electric vehicles, one policy option governments may consider is to increase taxes on petrol and diesel vehicles.
FILE PHOTO: Reuters