Planning on buying a hybrid or electric car? The good news is that not only have manufacturers such as Tesla and Volkswagen announced price cuts for new models, rental giant Hertz is selling off more of its fleet, meaning that used-car showrooms could soon see an influx of cut-price and barely-used electric vehicles (EVs).

The bad news for Europeans, however, is that the infrastructure needed to run the cars is not in place, with sales of EVs growing three times faster than the installation of charging points in the 6 years up to 2023.

The “mass adoption” of EVs “will not happen without widespread availability of public charging infrastructure right across the region,” said Sigrid de Vries, director general of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), which has warned that the European Union will need an 8-fold expansion of charging points by the end of the decade.

Installations are running at one-third of what is needed to meet the Commission’s target of 3.5 million points by 2030, the ACEA said. But the real picture could be far worse, with the ACEA saying that 8 million new charging points are needed by 2030, more than twice what the European Commission is aiming for and requiring around 22,000 new points to be installed in the EU each week between now and the end of the decade.

The ACEA warning came after Hertz said in late April that it would widen its sale of its EVs, adding 10,000 cars to the 20,000 it said it would be getting rid of in January, with most of them expensive-to-repair Teslas.

The rental company made the announcement while revealing a bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss, which management labelled “unacceptable” and which has been attributed to the company’s uptake of EVs, which in turn proved unpopular with renters. 

Hertz’s used car online showroom showed almost 3,000 EVs for sale in the US, some of them going for not much more than half-price despite being almost new and with low mileage.”

“Residual values of EVs are under significant pressure because of price cuts for new cars,” analysts at Dutch bank ING warned in February. “This leads to a more cautious approach among leasing and rental companies. As such, rental companies, Herz and Sixt, also decided to trim their EV fleets in the US and Europe,” they explained.

The cost of running petrol and diesel cars has soared in recent years, with fuel prices rising and countries imposing carbon taxes as they attempt to shift the industry away from fossil fuels. Chinese EV manufacturers have expanded internationally, while the country’s coal-fired power generations is being expanded, with a government think-tank estimating last year that it could rise by more than Canada’s power generation capacity by 2023.

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