Sales of EVs and PHEVs more than tripled in the EU during Q3
In the third quarter of 2020, almost one in ten passenger cars (9,9%) sold in the EU was a pure electric or a plug-in hybrid vehicle, compared to 3,0% during the same period last year. This is according to the most recent figures published by ACEA, the European car manufacturers association.
During this same period, cars powered by conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) lost further ground, with their overall market share going down from 88,6% in July-September 2019 to 75,4% this year.
ICE still the biggest by far, but regressing
Diesel cars accounted for 27,8% of total passenger car sales in the European Union during Q3, with registrations falling by 13,7% to 766 146 units.
Gasoline sales posted an even stronger drop (-24,3%), going from over 1,7 million units last year to 1,3 million units in the third quarter of 2020. This represents a market share of 47,5%, with gasoline going below the mark of 50% for the first time since 2016.
Until now, and since dieselgate and its consequences, we saw a shift from diesel sales to gasoline car sales primarily. Now both are really starting by losing ground on the alternatively-powered vehicles.
More than tripled
In the third quarter, registrations of electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECV, being EVs and PHEVs) more than tripled (+211,6%) to reach 273 809 units and a market share of 9,9%. According to ACEA, this strong growth is heavily influenced by the introduction of incentives by national governments.
As a result, demand for plug-in hybrids (PHEV) boomed (+368,1%) during the third quarter, going from 29 557 units last year to 138 348 new cars sold in 2020. Both Germany and France recorded a percentage increase of over 400% each.
Growth in battery electric vehicles (BEV) registrations was also strong across the European Union (+132,3%), totaling 135 461 units over the three-month period. This also means that the share of pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is now practically the same.
One quarter now alternatively-powered
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) remained the bestselling alternatively-powered vehicle type in the EU, posting an increase of 88,8% in the third quarter of the year. In total, 341 092 hybrid electric cars were sold from July to September 2020, representing 12,4% of the EU car market.
Demand for cars running on alternative fuels – ethanol (E85), liquified petroleum gas (LPG), and natural gas (CNG mostly) – slowed down in the third quarter of 2020 (-6,8%), although at a more moderate pace compared to the previous quarter.
This was mainly due to declining sales of natural gas-fuelled cars (-13,2%), while registrations of LPG vehicles remained almost unchanged (+0,8%).
All alternatively-powered vehicles combined represented almost 25% of the EU car market from July to September 2020, with sales doubling (+101,4%) from 337 108 units last year to 678 777 this year.
Among the four major markets, Germany (+159,8%) and France (+144,1%) posted the biggest increases, mainly driven by exceptionally strong sales of plug-in hybrids, followed by Italy (+60,3%) and Spain (+51,6%). This comes as no surprise, as France and Germany’s financial or tax incentives were the most outspoken.