Sales of electric vehicles and hybrid cars rose to their highest ever share in Europe in July, 2020, grabbing 18 per cent of the total European passenger car markets.
New figures show that overall new vehicle sales in Europe bounced back from their Covid-19 depths to record a fall of just 4% compared to July 2019. But the data does not bode well for non-EV manufacturers.
ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles continued the year-on-year decline (in both absolute numbers and overall percentage) that began in 2017.
Meanwhile, EVs (in this case comprising Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and full battery EVs – respectively HEV, PHEV and BEV) saw continued growth in both numbers and market percentage, reaching yet an all-time high of 18% of the total European passenger car market.
This July EV registration figure was also well up in terms of absolute numbers: in fact 131% up as compared to July 2019, to reach 230,700 – the first time that European EV sales have passed the 200,000 mark in one month.
Of these figures, half (approximately 9% of total July sales) were plug-in EVs and the other half were hybrids. (Hybrids being dual ICE and electric, but without a plug). Hybrids were up by 89% on 2019 numbers and Plug-in Hybrid EV sales were up by 365% over 2019.
Battery-only EV sales were ‘only’ up around 130%. I say ‘only’ as this BEV sales number could have been much higher: that figure was hurt by a one-off hit due to Tesla sales being down by 76% – the result of Covid 19 induced shipping and manufacturing delays relating to their Freemont California plant.
Another interesting feature of the numbers was the increasing model and segment options being occupied by full-battery EVs.
New European BEV model offerings in 2020 over 2019 include the Peugeot 209, Mini Electric, MG ZS, Porsche Taycan and Skoda Citigo – meaning in July 2020 there were 38 different BEV models on offer in Europe, as compared to 28 in 2019. (Compared to around 10 or 11 BEV models here in Australia).
Meanwhile, plug-in EV sales in Australia languish at around 0.6% of total new car sales.
Seems we have a long way to go in learning from what is happening overseas – in particular, that without encouraging manufacturers to expand their EV model and segment offerings – potential Australian EV buyers remain stymied in their ability to buy a BEV that suits their range, size, shape or budget needs.
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector since 2008 and is currently working as EV electrical safety trainer/supervisor for the University of Melbourne. He also provides support for the EV Transition to business, government and the public through his EV Transition consultancy EVchoice.