CEO of an automotive retailer on the reasons for the reluctance of electric vehicles



A space for recharging electric vehicles in London, United Kingdom

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The CEO of large auto retailer Pendragon has acknowledged the challenges facing the electric vehicle industry, but believes adoption rates will increase in the future.

Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Wednesday, Bill Berman said powertrains need to change and described himself as “a huge fan of electric vehicles.”

“I’m also a big fan of hydrogen – I think it has a role to play and I think it will start to get a little stronger in the years to come,” he said. “People’s hesitation… around electrics is multifaceted,” he added.

“First of all, it’s unknown – no one has ever driven an electric car, so there’s a lot of uncertainty that goes with it,” Berman said, alluding to the fact that a lot of people haven’t. still got behind the wheel of an EV.

“There is range anxiety that most consumers refer to. Even though… most consumers drive less than 50 miles a day, knowing that you cannot easily refuel your vehicle creates hesitation.”

Range anxiety refers to the idea that electric vehicles are not able to take long journeys without running out of charge and getting stranded. To remedy this, a sufficient charging infrastructure will have to be developed in the years to come.

At this point, Berman explained how, in his opinion, there were challenges related to where a vehicle could be loaded. “Most homes don’t have power, most office buildings don’t,” he said.

“It’s a bit of the proverbial ‘chicken and egg’, but as more and more electric vehicles are sold and more infrastructure is put in place, whether in North America, Europe or the United States. UK, I think adoption rates will increase. “

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A change seems to be on the horizon when it comes to the types of vehicles people use. The UK, for example, has plans to move away from the internal combustion engine and develop a net zero transport sector by 2050.

He wants to stop the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030 and demand, from 2035, that all new cars and vans have zero tailpipe emissions.

Elsewhere, the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, is targeting a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from cars and vans by 2035.

As technology develops and concerns about the environment grow, the auto industry expects significant changes in the years to come.

In his interview with CNBC, Berman sought to paint a picture of how this might play out. “I think people will adopt… alternative modes of transport,” he said.

“I think people will take on different ways of moving and getting around, and different powertrains… whether it’s electric, hydrogen.”

“At some point there will be autonomous vehicles,” he said. “And, you know, you could call a pod to pick you up, Uber-esque and… take you to the market every day.”

Pendragon, headquartered in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange, on Wednesday reported underlying pre-tax profit of £ 35.1million ($ 48.55million) for the first half of the year. some exercice. This compares to a loss of £ 31million for the first half of fiscal 2020.


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