Sales of hybrid cars are catching up with diesel in Europe
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Paris (AFP)- Sales of hybrid cars hit a major milestone in Europe last year, as they captured the same market share as diesel vehicles, while electric models gained more ground, industry data shows. Wednesday.
The figures come as the European Commission aims to ban the sale of new fossil fuel cars from 2035 and carmakers unveil plans to transition to an electric future.
An environmental group, however, has warned that conventional engines could make a comeback if the European Union does not set more ambitious CO2 emissions standards.
According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), self-charging hybrid vehicles accounted for almost 20% of new passenger cars registered in the EU27, tied with diesel, with 1.9 million cars sold.
This represented an 11.9% market share for hybrids in 2020.
Hybrid cars have become the “perfect solution” for automakers to reduce their average CO2 emissions, said Felipe Munoz, an analyst at auto industry specialists Jato Dynamics.
Self-charging hybrid cars are powered by a conventional motor and an electric motor that charges while driving.
Automakers also make plug-in hybrids that run on their electric battery until their power runs out, then run on fuel. Their market share increased to 8.9% last year.
Nearly 880,000 fully electric cars were sold last year, representing 9.1% of total car registrations.
Sales of electric cars have surged thanks to government incentives to buy them and growing production from automakers. They represented less than 2% of the market share in 2019 and 5.4% in 2020.
Gas-powered cars still held the largest market share with 40% in 2021.
But electrified vehicles are losing their minds, their sales surpassing those of conventionally powered cars in the last quarter of 2021.
The market is “consolidating”
The rise of electric and hybrid vehicles came in a year that saw overall car sales fall to their lowest level in three decades in Europe.
Automakers have been hit by the Covid pandemic and shortages of semiconductors, a key component of computer systems built into conventional and electric vehicles.
Sales of diesel cars fell by a third in Europe last year, according to ACEA.
Sales of electric cars doubled last year in several European countries, including Sweden, Italy and Ireland, and jumped 83% in Germany, the auto industry‘s biggest market.
In Britain, electric car sales rose 76% while in Norway, 19 of the 20 best-selling models in January were electric, taking an 83.7% market share.
“The EV (electric vehicle) market is consolidating, especially in the larger markets, like Norway,” Munoz said.
Smaller markets such as Romania and Greece have also increasingly embraced electrified vehicles, with the opening of Tesla dealerships there and the arrival of cheaper models from traditional automakers.
“Slow lane” warning
Transport & Environment, a green group, hailed the growing share of electric cars in Europe.
“The unprecedented growth is undeniably the result of Europe’s CO2 targets for cars,” said Julia Poliscanova, T&E’s senior director for vehicles.
Car emissions in Europe are capped at 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
“But regulations are taking the pressure off automakers this year, so we could already see a pick-up in sales of polluting fossil-fuel cars,” Poliscanova said.
“CO2 standards need to be more ambitious and more regular to prevent electric vehicle sales from being relegated to the slow lane.”
© 2022 AFP