Let's also consider combustion engines: too expensive and time-consuming: vehicle owners and suppliers rule out electric cars

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The electric car market is weakening enormously. Car sharers and car rental companies feel it too. Some of them have for the moment moved away from ambitious electronic quotas for their own fleets.

Due to difficult electric vehicle (BEV) market conditions, some rental car and car sharing providers are also reducing the electric proportion of their fleets. At Berlin car-sharing company Miles, for example, at the end of last year only just under 17 percent of all rental cars had electric drive, as the company announced at customer request.

Just six months earlier, the proportion was 25 percent. Currently, new electric cars are only integrated to a limited extent into the vehicle fleet.

Landlord Miles reduces electric share to 17 percent

“A direct comparison between combustion vehicles and electric cars in car sharing shows that an electric car still has a cost disadvantage compared to combustion engines,” explains Miles. “Due to higher acquisition costs, more complex and expensive repairs, and increased operational effort.”

Due to their shorter range, electric cars would have to be charged more frequently than combustion engines. Customers would also be more likely to rent a car with conventional drive if the battery level is low, especially if longer trips or excursions are planned. “Electric cars will continue to be an integral part of our fleet, but the change will not happen as quickly as originally planned,” Miles continued.

Munich-based car rental and car-sharing company Sixt made a similar statement. The company also did not want to completely ban electric cars from its fleet, as it announced a few weeks ago when presenting the annual balance sheet for 2023. “However, the specific design of further development requires a high degree of flexibility.” Consequently, market conditions for the sale of used electric vehicles have deteriorated significantly. “In Germany, for example, prices for this type of vehicle fell by more than 20 percent over the past year.”

Sixt withdraws many electric cars from its fleet

According to Sixt, this is why it has begun to remove electric cars from its fleet for which there are no buyback or leasing agreements. At the end of February 2024, the proportion of such vehicles in Sixt's electric fleet was only about half of what it was on March 31, 2023, he said.

Bad news for combustion engine fans: why their cars will soon be the most expensive

According to the company, the proportion of electric cars in the entire fleet of the car rental company Europcar is around twelve percent internationally and higher in Germany. “We are within the framework of our objectives and currently see no reason to reduce them,” a spokeswoman said.

Electronic purchases from homeowners fell to 1.7 percent

Car owners and car sharers have rarely purchased new electric vehicles lately. In the first two months of the year, the Federal Road Transportation Authority only counted 663 new registrations for this group of owners, which corresponds to a share of 1.7 percent of their purchases. On average for 2023, BEVs accounted for 12.4 percent of new registrations among rental and car-sharing companies. In total there were 37,052 pieces. Even in the same period of January and February 2023, when BEV demand temporarily collapsed due to a lower premium, electric vehicles were still significantly more popular among these suppliers, with almost 1,800 new registrations or 4.4 percent .

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Companies demand free parking for electric cars

The purchase voucher for electric cars for commercial use completely expired in September. Then demand fell significantly. In December, the government surprisingly canceled the purchase premium for private customers. Since then, electric drives, which for years had enjoyed high growth rates, have lost significant momentum. According to the Automobile Industry Association (VDA), the number of newly registered electric vehicles fell by 14 percent in the entire first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

From the point of view of the Miles company, a key to boosting demand again, at least in the commercial sector, lies in the municipalities. A useful approach would be to waive parking fees for electric vehicles in cities. “Looking ahead, it is equally important that vehicle autonomy continues to increase and charging infrastructure in cities grows,” the company highlighted.


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