Spar opens 66 free charging points for shoppers in Hungary
Supermarket chain Spar takes electrification in Hungary very seriously, expecting the EV market to grow fast in the central European country. As a first step, it has installed 66 charging points at 17 high traffic locations throughout Hungary.
These will initially be free of charge for Spar shoppers. Especially in a country where one third of the population lives in apartment buildings, with limited access to private charging stations, many EV drivers are dependent on (semi-) public chargers, Spar reckons.
The charging stations are provided by EVBox through its partner NKM. EVBox is operational in over 55 countries worldwide and belongs to French power company Engie.
Authored by: Dieter Quartier
60% “ready to quit” if they lose company car
Six out of ten employeeswith a company car are ready to quit their jobs if they lose that entitlement. That’s the most remarkable outcome of a survey of 1,500 employees in Belgium by HR services provider Securex.
This deep attachment to company cars is born out of ignorance of the alternatives, suggests Securex mobility expert Hermina Van Coillie.
• Around 20% of those surveyed are not aware of the alternatives to company cars – such as the mobility budget, which was recently introduced in Belgium.
• And those that do know the alternatives, often find them unappealing. Two out of three employees surveyed wouldn’t consider trading their company car for a smaller model, combined with a train subscription or a bicycle allowance.
• Company cars become less important if work times are less strict: 44% of employees in companies with flexible working hours would consider giving up their company car. In non-flex companies, that’s only 23%.
• The survey reveals major regional differences in the stress levels experienced when travelling to and from work. Commuting is stressful, say 49% of those working in Brussels, but only 38% of those working in Flanders, and 36% in Wallonia.
Cash for car
According to Van Coillie, this suggests it’s not distance, but unpredictability is the greater contributor to commuter stress: depending on weather, accidents and other variables, driving into or out of the Belgian capital during rush hour (pictured: Rue de la Loi) can take up to an hour extra.
A separate study by fellow HR services provider Acerta shows only 14 out of 10,000 employees have taken advantage of ‘cash for car’, a mobility alternative rolled out 18 months ago, allowing employees to trade their company car for a cash allowance of up to €700 per month – making it an even less popular option than the mobility budget.
The answer, both to Belgium’s endemic congestion and its company car addiction, is to adapt HR policies to allow more flexible working, Securex suggests.
Authored by: Frank Jacobs
European market sparks in July
The latest figures from market analyst Jato Dynamics highlight a substantial increase in demand for electric vehicles and hybrids across Europe in July, along with a revival in fortunes of the SUV segment.
Looking first at the overall market, Jato says that despite continuing economic uncertainty and diminishing consumer confidence, the European car market registered growth in July 2019, as registrations were up by 1.2% to 1,325,600 units. Although the growth was marginal, it marks a significant improvement on the drop seen in June, when registrations fell by 7.9%. However, the result is not significant enough to offset the market’s overall performance so far in 2019, with year-to-date figures showing 9,723,400 vehicles have been registered – a 2.5% drop on the same period last year.
Felipe Munoz, JATO’s global analyst, comments: “There is uncertainty in Europe. After many years of growth, the market shows signs of deceleration that is likely to continue if the German economy fails to grow again. The growth seen in July was driven by the midsize and small markets, as 14 of the 27 countries analysed in JATO’s insights saw increases. Again, the situation is not as positive in the year-to-date figures, where only 10 markets have so far recorded growth. In terms of the Big 5 markets, Germany is the only one to show a year to date increase (of just 1.1%) with France, Italy, the UK and Spain, all down by figures from 2.2% to 5.1%.
Appetite for electricity
Moving on to the electric wave, Jato finds that registrations of BEV, PHEV, HEV and other electric vehicles totalled 96,600 units in July – an increase of 29% over July 2018. The fuel type also saw a market share increase from 5.8% to 7.4%. “Even if they still makeup a comparatively marginal part of the overall market, electric vehicles are definitely becoming the industry’s bright spot during these challenging times,” explains Munoz.
Jato goes on to say that the increase in the EV market share came as a result of the outstanding performance of pure electric cars (BEVs), where volume was up by a huge 98% to 23,200 units. The growth was driven by Tesla – the top-selling brand – and Renault, which saw a 103% volume increase after its Zoe model became the top-selling BEV during the month. Other notable results included Volkswagen, where volume was up by 64%, Hyundai, where volume was up by 334%, and Audi, which sold 1,735 units of the E-Tron.
Consumers bought 505,900 SUVs in July, as demand increased by 8.7%. This result puts fears of a deceleration in the segment to rest, which was a concern after demand for the car type slowed to the lowest recorded rate in June. However, the increase seen in July 2018 was still lower than the 35%, 18% and 12% increases seen in July 2018, July 2017 and July 2016, respectively.
Authored by: Tim Harrup