The CEO of an auto retailer on the reasons for electric vehicle hesitation

Location for electric vehicle charging in London, UK

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The CEO of major automotive retailer Pendragon acknowledges the challenges facing the electric vehicle sector, but believes adoption will increase going forward.

Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Wednesday, Bill Berman said the powertrain needed to change and described himself as “a big fan of electric vehicles.”

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

“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, pointing to the fact that many people are not yet able to use EV wheels. are not behind.

“There’s the range concern that most consumers call it. Even though… most consumers drive less than 50 miles a day, knowing you can’t easily refuel your vehicle creates hesitation.” ”

Range anxiety refers to the idea that electric vehicles are not capable of making long journeys without being charged and stranded. To deal with this, adequate charging infrastructure will need to be developed in the coming years.

Up to this point, Berman explained how, in his view, a vehicle could be charged, where there were challenges associated with it. “Most homes are not equipped with an electricity supply, most office buildings don’t have it,” he said.

“It’s like the proverbial ‘chicken and the egg’, but as more electric vehicles are sold and more infrastructure is put in place – whether it’s in North America, Europe or the UK – I think the adoption rate will increase.” “

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

Change seems to be on the horizon when it comes to the types of vehicles people use. For example, the UK plans to move away from internal combustion engines and develop a net-zero transport sector by 2050.

It seeks to halt sales of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030 and requires zero tailpipe emissions in all new cars and vans from 2035.

Elsewhere, the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is targeting a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from cars and vans by 2035.

As technology evolves and concerns about the environment increase, the automotive industry is poised for some significant changes in the coming years.

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 different ways to get around and get around, as well as different powertrains … whether it’s electric, hydrogen.”

“There are going to be autonomous vehicles down the road at some point,” he said. “And, you know, you can call a pod to pick you up, Uber-esque and … take you to the market every day.”

Pendragon, which is headquartered in the UK and listed on the London Stock Exchange, on Wednesday announced profit before tax of £35.1 million ($48.55 million) for the first half of the fiscal year. This compares to a loss of £31 million for the first half of the fiscal year in 2020.

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