Automakers have sold more than 1,000,000 all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars in Europe during 2020, a milestone in the automotive industry’s move away from fossil fuels.
According to the latest report published by Schmidt Automotive Research, the 18 country West European passenger car market consisting of the original EU member states prior to the 2004 enlargement plus EFTA member states Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, witnessed over 1 million new combined BEV and PHEV vehicles entering Europe’s roads this year, accounting for every tenth new vehicle, with one month of the year still remaining, in a total market expected to record just below 11 million new cars this year.
Just over half of those plug-ins were pure electric new passenger car registrations, achieving a volume of more than 0.5 million during the opening 11-months of the year. During the whole of last year (2019) 354,000 BEVs were recorded across the region. With one month of the year still remaining, the report’s 2020 pure electric forecast remains at over 600,000, or more than every twentieth new car.
The main driver of the market has undoubtedly been manufacturers’ race to reach new European Union average CO2 fleet emission targets, phased-in this year. The target has been made easier to achieve two-fold by a depressed total market meaning fewer plug-ins have to be registered in order to meet compliance levels, and secondly governments’ willingness to increase both purchase and fiscal incentives – in light of the corona pandemic – in key markets such as Germany which has contributed to mouthwatering electric car leasing deals for under €100 per month on offer.
The main contributor to Western Europe’s plug-in market boom has come from Germany, thanks to some of those generous combined government and manufacture incentives where a purchase subsidy for a moderately priced pure electric car of up to €9,000 is on offer. Europe’s largest car market, Germany, now accounts for every fourth plug-in registered across the 18 market region, or twice as many as in the UK during the same period.
Following November’s registrations, Schmidt Automotive Research can also confirm that the German passenger car market has become the first in the region to achieve over 0.5 million plug-in passenger cars in circulation. The government’s target is 1 million new plug-in vehicles on the road by the end of 2021.