Gerardo Pérez, president of Faconauto, Spain's association of car dealers. | Teresa Ayuga

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Gerardo Pérez is the president of Faconauto, the Spanish association of car dealers. In Palma for a meeting with the Confederation of Balearic Business Associations, he said on Monday that deadlines for transition to electric cars "have never been realistic".

"We have always advocated that transition be orderly and fair. A huge and high-power charging infrastructure is needed as well as time for technological development and a fall in the price of electric cars. Only 4.7% of sales in the Balearics are electric. In Spain it is 3%. The government is telling people that they have to buy a car for which there is insufficient infrastructure.

"Administrations say that they can't undertake investment and that this has to be done by private businesses. But the businesses reply that as there aren't enough cars, they can't do this. It's a Catch-22 situation. We are asking for realism. The Spanish government has set up a working group to implement charging infrastructure throughout Spain, but this is three years too late. We have been under pressure to sell this type of car for three years, so this shows that the house has started from the roof.

"There are 23,000 chargers on public roads in Spain and 350,000 would be needed. Of the 23,000, most are low capacity. They take four or five hours to charge the car, so it doesn't make any sense to have these chargers on the street. But a high-capacity one costs over 100,000 euros. Who is going to make that sort of investment with a fleet of 70,000 electric cars out of a total 26 million? The administrations are forcing a technology without knowing who is going to invest in it. It may be the future, but at the moment it is not the present.

"In some northern European countries, income is getting on for double that in Spain. It's regrettable that the best-selling vehicle in this country is a used car over ten years old. An electric one costs between 35,000 and 60,000 euros on average. Even in Germany, where there is higher income, they are not going to meet deadlines set by Brussels because they can't be fulfilled. In southern European countries the situation will remain more acute if cars don't become cheaper. Politicians have to take their foot off the accelerator because they are putting Spanish and European industry in a very difficult situation.

"This has all been born out of an ideological element having been added to the issue of sustainability. It is waving an ideological flag when the circumstances do not even exist for it to become a reality. When that ideological component is removed, the deadlines will be different."