2020 (Q1): Germany was the largest battery-electric car and electrified vehicle market in Europe with the UK leading in hybrid car sales.
In the first quarter of 2020, the registration of electrically chargeable passenger vehicles in the European Union (EU), UK, and EFTA countries increased by 82% to 228,210 cars. The sales of battery-electric cars grew by a slower 58% to 130,297. These increases came despite the effect of the coronavirus from March onwards, which saw the total European new car market contract by just over a quarter during the first three months of 2020. Germany surpassed Norway as the market leader for battery electric vehicles in Europe. Germany also overtook the United Kingdom as the largest market for plug-in hybrid vehicles in Europe but the British market remained the leader in hybrid vehicles overall.
European New Electric Car Market in 2020 (First Quarter)
During 2020/Q1, the market for electrically chargeable vehicles (ECV) in the European Union doubled (+100.7%) to 167,132 cars. If EFTA (+5.2%) and the UK (+118.9%) are added, the expansion was 81.7% to 228,210 cars.
The market for electrically chargeable vehicles in the EU and EFTA grew by more than 100,000 cars during the first quarter of 2020 to increase market share from 2.5% to 6.8% compared to the first three months of 2019.
The expected strong growth in the sales of electric cars in Europe in 2020 seemed to have materialized during the first months of 2020. However, the closure of dealerships and registration offices in most countries due to the coronavirus clearly dampened sales in March.
The increase in sales is due both to the availability of more electric car models but even more as a result of heavy fines that the EU will impose on carmakers producing cars with high CO2 output unless balances out by low-emission vehicles. A 260% growth was forecasted for the UK in 2020, although the coronavirus certainly will now make that unlikely despite a very strong start to the year for electric cars in Britain.
European New Car Market by Fuel Types in 2020 (Q1)
The new car market in the EU and EFTA during Q1/2020 was divided into the following fuel types according to the ACEA:
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).
- Hybrids include PHEV
- Alternatively Powered Vehicles (APV) include ECV, hybrids, natural gas, LPG, and ethanol (not included in the table above).
- Excludes some smaller markets where suitable data is not available.
Electric Car Sales Per European Union and EFTA Country in 2020 (Q1)
New passenger vehicle registrations of electrically chargeable vehicles (ECV) in European Union, UK, and EFTA countries during January to March 2020 were as follows according to the ACEA:
|EU + EFTA + UK||228,210||125,583||81.7|
Battery Electric Vehicle Sales in Europe in 2020 (Q1)
Registrations of battery electric vehicles (BEV) in various European Union and EFTA member countries during the period January to March 2020 were as follows according to ACEA statistics:
|EU + EFTA + UK||130,297||82,362||58.2|
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Sales in Europe in 2020 (Q1)
Registrations of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) in various European Union and EFTA member countries during the first quarter of 2020 were as follows according to ACEA statistics:
|EU + EFTA + UK||97,913||43,221||126.5|
Electric Car Sales in Europe During 2020 (First Quarter)
The effect of the coronavirus hit different European countries at different times making the changes in rank positions relatively unimportant. However, there is clear growth in electric car sales in all the larger markets with huge potential for further increases in sales and gains in market share once the European economies re-open later in 2020.
During the first quarter of 2020, Germany surpassed Norway as the largest European market for electrically chargeable vehicles. While Norway moved down to fourth, France moved into second place ahead of the UK that slipped to third. In the three largest European new car markets, electrically chargeable vehicle sales more than doubled.
Norway was the only significant market in Europe with lower electric car sales at the start of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019. This was due to the existing popularity of electric cars in Norway — while electric car sales were down 3.6%, the total Norwegian new car market contracted by 16% during 2020(Q1). Electric cars maintained more than two-thirds market share in Norway.
Germany became the largest market in Europe for battery-electric vehicles with sales increasing by 63%. However, in France and Britain, battery-electric car sales increased by an even faster 145% and 204% respectively. Norway slipped from first to fourth. Electric car sales were also weak in the Netherlands — the largest European electric car market in full-year 2019.
Germany replaced Britain as the largest market for plug-in hybrid cars in Europe in 2020 (Q1). Sales of plug-in hybrids in the EU, UK, and EFTA in the first quarter of 2020 increased by 126%. This is largely due to a 257% increase in plug-in hybrid sales in Germany, where PHEV cars received special tax treatments and are thus popular with premium manufacturers supplying business cars. The image of PHEV took a bit of a bashing after reports in the UK that many were fleet vehicles that qualified for subsidies despite the charging cables never being used by drivers.
Electric Car Sales in the European Union (EU) and EFTA Countries
Electric Car Sales per EU and EFTA Country:
- 2021: Q1
- 2020 (Full Year): Market by Fuel Type, Sales by Country
- 2020: Q3, (Half Year), (Q1)
- 2019: (Full Year), (Q1)
- 2018: (Full Year), (Q3), (Half Year), (Q1)
- 2017: (Full Year)
European New Car Market in 2020
Sales and Market Analysis: