EU market share of electric vehicles surges

13 May 2020

13 May 2020

While coronavirus (COVID-19) took a heavy toll on EU passenger-car registrations in the first three months of 2020, electric vehicles managed to grow their market share significantly.

The latest figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), reveal that the share of electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs) in the EU grew to 6.8% in Q1 2020, compared to 2.5% in Q1 2019.

This contrasted massively with the petrol and diesel fuel types, which saw registrations tumble. However, petrol did manage to maintain its grip on more than half of the EU market.

Surge in electric registrations

Sales of ECVs more than doubled (100.7%) in the first three months of the year, totalling 167,132 registrations across the EU. Broken down, registrations of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) grew by 68.4% and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) increased by 161.7%.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) remained the best sellers in the wider alternatively-powered vehicle (APV) segment. HEVs made up 9.4% of the total EU car market with 232, 525 units registered during Q1 2020, up 45.1% compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, alternative fuels, including cars running on ethanol (E85), liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas (NGV), saw mixed results. NGV cars saw a growth in demand of 68.5%, while LPG sales halved due to the contraction of the Italian market. Growth in the natural gas segment did not offset the drop in LPG, meaning an overall decline of 30.4%

Overall, the four major EU markets, Germany, France Italy and Spain, all posted growth in APV registrations from January to March 2020. Germany and France saw demand increase by 74.9% and 71.7% respectively. The increase was bolstered by the substantial performance of the PHEV segment.

Registrations of diesel-powered cars in the EU declined by 32.6% to 738,392 units. The fuel type now holds 29.9% of the market, down from 33.2% in Q1 2019. All markets in the region experienced a drop, notably the four largest ones: Italy (″49.8%), France (″36.6%), Spain (″33.8%) and Germany (″23.0%).

Registrations of petrol cars contracted by 32.2%, to 1.3 million in Q1 2020 from nearly 2 million units last year. All EU markets, bar Cyprus and Lithuania, have seen double-digit drops so far this year.

Outside of the EU

ACEA’s measurement of new-car registrations in the EU no longer includes the UK. When combining the EU, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the UK, registrations of BEVs grew by 58.2% to 130,297 in Q1 2020 from 82,362 in Q1 2019. PHEV registrations increased by 126.5% from 43,221 in the first quarter of 2019 to 97,913 in the same period this year. HEVs experienced growth of 49.0% to 310,308 registrations in Q1 2020, up from 208,299 in Q1 2019.  

APVs using E85, LPG and NVG, also saw a downturn as registrations dropped by 30.0% at 39,820 in the first three months of this year compared with 56,880 in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, petrol saw a decrease across the EU, EFTA and UK. Registrations in Q1 2020 hit 1.6 million, down 33% from 2.4 million in Q1 2019. Diesel took a fall of 35.3% going from 1.3 million registrations in the first three months of last year to 847,360 in the same period this year.