Statistics is what they have. They help us to better understand reality, but sometimes an unfocused reading can lead us to wrong conclusions. the signature S&P Globalfor example, just published A study about the age of the US mobile fleet that leaves a curious idea thrown around: until now electric cars have lasted less than the rest. The average age of light vehicles is 12.5 years while that of electric with battery (BEV) is more than three times lower, at just 3.6. Does that mean these go bad sooner? What are less reliable? Is there no other option than to change them every little bit?
The shots actually go elsewhere.
What do the figures say? That the BEV park is very, very far from reaching the average age of the rest of the vehicles. He latest report on the subject of S&P Global Mobility concludes that the average age of cars and light trucks in the United States is 12.5 years. If the focus is focused exclusively on passenger cars, passenger cars, the data is even somewhat older, at 13.6 years. Nothing to do with battery electric vehicles (BEV). Their average age, at least in the US, is barely 3.6 years.
And what is the trend? Opposite in both cases. While cars and light trucks in general have aged, the BEV fleet has rejuvenated. To be more precise, the former have seen their average age increase by three months compared to 2022, while the latter, the electric ones, have cut it by about a month: if in 2022 the average age of US BEVs was 3.7 years, now it is 3.6.
Which is the reason? The different starting point of one and the other and its drift over the last few years. Statista tables help to get a clear idea: in 2016, barely 80,000 battery electric vehicles were sold in the US, far from the 790,000 registered in 2022. In fact, the platform expects that this trend will continue over the next few years and that the flow of sales reach 2.1 million BEV in 2028.
As new electric vehicles enter garages and roads, S&P Global explains, they compress the average age of the national park, which since 2017 has been hovering between three and four years. Estimates from the US firm in fact show that new BEV registrations have been increasing by 58% year after year until reaching 758,000 units in 2022, according to their own calculations.
And the whole of the park? If we broaden the focus and cover the more than 284 million of vehicles operating on US roads, including of course the wide park internal combustion engine cars, the picture is different. In this case, the average age of the fleet has increased consecutively over the last six years and the data now reflects – motivated at least by sales drift – the most pronounced increase in age since the 2008 recession. 2009.
How is it explained? “In 2022 the median age experienced upward pressure due to supply constraints from low new vehicle inventory levels and certainly slowing demand as interest rates and inflation reduced demand for new vehicles. consumers in the second half of the year”, pick up the reportwhich reports a drop of 8% in retail sales and fleets of light vehicles.
As a background it is convenient to handle several keys. The first is the trend in the internal combustion vehicle market itself, which according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance it peaked in 2017 and is now facing “structural decline”. The second is the discrete weight that electric vehicles still have in the sales calculation. According to Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), in April 2023, 105,438 plug-in vehicles (PEV) were sold, the sum of BEVs and plug-in hybrids: it is 49.7% more than during the same month of 2022, but in practice it means that PEVs captured 7 .83% of the total sales of light vehicles.
What is the situation beyond the US? The S&P Global study is interesting because it allows comparing the age of the BEVs and the fleet as a whole, but it is not the only one that provides interesting data. Other relevant and that helps to complete the ACEAthe European Association of Automobile Manufacturers, which in May published a report precisely on the average age of passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses with updated data up to 2021.
his conclusion is that EU cars have an average age of 12 years, an average that is even higher in Greece and Estonia, where the fleet is close to 17 years. At the opposite pole is Luxembourg, where passenger cars are around 7.6 years old.
Cover image: Michael Fousert (Unsplash)
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