2021 (Q1) Europe: Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Car Sales per EU, UK, and EFTA Country

2021 (Q1): Battery-electric car and plug-in hybrid passenger car sales increased in almost every country in Europe but petrol remained the most popular fuel type for new cars.

2021 (Q1): Battery-electric car and plug-in hybrid passenger car sales increased in almost every country in Europe but petrol remained the most popular fuel type for new cars.

In the first quarter of 2021, the registration of electrically chargeable passenger vehicles in the European Union (EU), UK, and EFTA countries increased sharply. The sales of battery-electric cars increased by 56% for a 5.7% market share while plug-in hybrid vehicle sales increased by 154% for an 8% market share. Germany was by far the largest market for new battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars in Europe.

Latest European Car Market Statistics 2021: January, February, March, Q1, April, May, June, HY, July, August, September, Q3, October, November, December, Full Year — 2020: Q1, HY, Q3, Full Year

European New Car Market by Fuel Type in 2021 (Q1)

In the first quarter of 2021, electrified vehicles gained market share in the weak overall European new car market (EU, EFTA, and the UK). While the total European new car market was flat with only 0.9% growth, electrically-chargeable vehicle (ECV) sales increased strongly with battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales up 54.6% while plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) sales increased by 153%.

In the European Union (EU), new passenger vehicle registrations increased by 3.2% to 2,560,330 cars during the first quarter of 2021. BEV sales increased by 59.1% to 146,185 cars for a market share of 5.7% while PHEV sales increased by 175% to 208,389 cars and an 8.2% market share.

Although petrol car sales fell 17%, it remained by far the most popular fuel type for new cars with a 42.2% share (down from 52.3% in 2020/Q1), while diesel sales were down 20.1% for a 23.2% share (29.9% in 2020/Q1). The demand for diesel cars fell by nearly 30% in Germany and Spain, and 11% in France.

Note Terminology used in these ACEA statistics:

  • Electrically chargeable vehicle (ECV) = battery electric vehicles (BEV) + extended-range electric vehicles (EREV) + fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) + plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).
  • BEV statistics include FCEV and PHEV include EREV
  • Hybrids include full and mild hybrids but not PHEV

Battery-Electric Car Sales in Europe in 2021 (Q1)

Registrations of battery-electric vehicles (BEV) in various European Union and EFTA member countries during the period January to March 2021 were as follows according to ACEA statistics:

European CountryQ1/2021Q1/2020% Change
AUSTRIA6,6222,434172.1
BELGIUM4,0392,88540.0
BULGARIA111147-24.5
CROATIA13257131.6
CYPRUS264550.0
CZECH REPUBLIC572864-33.8
DENMARK2,9992,14040.1
ESTONIA9545111.1
FINLAND1,50391863.7
FRANCE30,49125,95917.5
GERMANY64,80926,030149.0
GREECE41971490.1
HUNGARY5605178.3
IRELAND2,8211,65071.0
ITALY13,2665,401145.6
LATVIA654447.7
LITHUANIA6587-25.3
LUXEMBOURG1,033336207.4
NETHERLANDS4,5668,695-47.5
POLAND94058760.1
PORTUGAL1,5792,676-41.0
ROMANIA41527153.1
SLOVAKIA157166-5.4
SLOVENIA34229416.3
SPAIN3,4493,948-12.6
SWEDEN5,1095,638-9.4
EUROPEAN UNION146,18591,86459.1
ICELAND536801-33.1
NORWAY19,15916,34717.2
SWITZERLAND4,7513,67029.5
EFTA24,44620,81817.4
UNITED KINGDOM31,77918,25674.1
EU + EFTA + UK202,410130,93854.6
Source: ACEA

Battery-Electric Car Sales in Europe in 2021 (Q1)

Battery-electric vehicle registrations in Europe increased by 54.6% during the first quarter of 2021 with sales up nearly 60% in the EU largely due to only a weak increase in sales in EFTA, where electric cars already had a strong share in 2020.

Germany was the largest battery-electric car market in Europe at the start of 2021 with sales up 149% to nearly a tenth of total new passenger vehicle registrations. The British electric car market grew 74% to take second place from France that increased battery car sales by only 17%.

Norway was the fourth largest battery-electric car market in Europe during the first quarter of 2021. Sales increased by only 17% but BEVs were 53% of total car sale in Norway thus far in 2021. BEV sales in Italy increased by 145% while the Austrian market expanded by an even stronger 172% but overall numbers remained relatively low compared to the largest markets.

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Sales in Europe in 2021 (Q1)

Registrations of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) in various European Union, UK and EFTA member countries during the first quarter of 2021 were as follows according to ACEA statistics:

CountryQ1/2021Q1/2020% Change
AUSTRIA3,7231,189213.1
BELGIUM12,7435,075151.1
BULGARIA796325.4
CROATIA6928146.4
CYPRUS2027-25.9
CZECH REPUBLIC967472104.9
DENMARK7,5202,019272.5
ESTONIA322060.0
FINLAND5,7403,64257.6
FRANCE31,2299,423231.4
GERMANY78,04726,419195.4
GREECE87888897.7
HUNGARY91848788.5
IRELAND2,7301,032164.5
ITALY16,1032,951445.7
LATVIA292231.8
LITHUANIA00
LUXEMBOURG1,232454171.4
NETHERLANDS6,2543,28690.3
POLAND1,987684190.5
PORTUGAL3,4052,10162.1
ROMANIA00
SLOVAKIA24015851.9
SLOVENIA2221,000.0
SPAIN7,1423,305116.1
SWEDEN27,28012,835112.5
EUROPEAN UNION208,38975,782175.0
ICELAND54237146.1
NORWAY10,6326,22170.9
SWITZERLAND4,3152,70759.4
EFTA15,4899,29966.6
UNITED KINGDOM26,61313,74593.6
EU + EFTA + UK250,49198,826153.5
Source: ACEA

Plug-In Hybrid Car Sales in Europe in 2021 (Q1)

New plug-in hybrid passenger vehicle registrations in Europe increased by 153% during the first quarter of 2021 while sales in the EU increased by an even stronger 175%.

Plug-in hybrid sales were helped by government incentives, especially in Germany, and the resulting increase in the availability of plug-in models on the market. Despite continued doubts about whether plug-in hybrids contribute to lower emissions, and considerable anecdotal evidence that such hybrids actually increase on-the-road fuel consumption as company cars rarely get charged, several governments offered subsidies for plug-in hybrid sales.

In Germany, where big subsidies are available, premium manufacturers introduced a large range of vehicles and sales almost tripled. In France, sales of PHEVs more than tripled with the French market climbing two rank positions but still remained less than half the size of the German plug-in hybrid market. The UK slipped from second to fourth while Sweden rose to third from fourth a year ago.

Italy moved into a surprise fifth place with plug-in hybrid sales up 446% — only the small Greek market grew faster with sales up 900%.

Electric Car Sales in the European Union (EU) and EFTA Countries

Electric Car Sales per EU and EFTA Country: