It’s hard to argue that the EV revolution is around the corner when petrol car sales keep rising. Yes, diesel sales are falling, but more people are switching to petrol than EVs. This month, two data releases from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) show that EV’s big gains are only happening in the high income countries. Even wealthy Norway’s 49.1% EV market share is an exception. The nations that come second and third are still in single figures: Sweden (8%) and the Netherlands (6.7%). Meanwhile half of all EU states have an EV market share lower than 1%. So even though EVs are up an impressive 40% across the EU, that is only from a very low base.
Correlation between uptake of electric cars and GDP in the EU
[DATE: 09/05/2019] This map visualises the correlation between the market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs) and GDP per capita for the 28 EU member states plus Norway and Switzerland.
- 2.0% of new cars registered in the EU in 2018 were electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECVs).
- Yet, half of all EU member states have an ECV market share lower than 1%.
- All countries with an ECV market share of less than 1% have a GDP below €29,000, including new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe but also Spain, Italy and Greece.
- By contrast, an ECV market share of above 3.5% only occurs in countries with a GDP per capita of more than €42,000.
- Many people take the Norwegian market as a benchmark. But just like its €73,200 GDP, more than twice the EU average (€30,600), Norway’s 49.1% ECV share is an exception in Europe.
- The countries that come second and third, Sweden (8%) and the Netherlands (6.7%), have some of the highest GDPs in the EU but much lower ECV market shares.
- On the other end of the spectrum, in Latvia only 93 electric cars were sold in 2018. And with an ECV market share of 0.2%, Poland has the lowest uptake of electric cars in the EU.
- Not only do we see a clear split between Central-Eastern and Western Europe, but also a pronounced North-South divide (eg Greece 0.3% and Italy 0.5%).
Top 5 countries with lowest share of electric cars in the EU
- Poland – 0.2% with 1,324 ECVs sold in 2018 (GDP of €12,900)
- Slovakia – 0.3% with 293 ECVs sold in 2018 (GDP of €16,600)
- Greece – 0.3% with 315 ECVs sold in 2018 (GDP of €17,100)
- Czech Republic – 0.4% with 981 ECVs sold in 2018 (GDP of €20,500)
- Lithuania – 0.4% with 143 ECVs sold in 2018 (GDP of €15,900)
ECV market share of the 5 biggest EU car markets
- Germany – 67,658 ECVs, or 2.0% of the 3.4 million cars sold in 2018 (GDP of €41,000)
- United Kingdom – 59,947 ECVs, or 2.5% of the 2.4 million cars sold in 2018 (GDP of €37,600)
- France – 45,623 ECVs, or 2.1% of the 2.2 million cars sold in 2018 (GDP of €36,200)
- Italy – 9,731 ECVs, or 0.5% of the 1.9 million cars sold in 2018 (GDP of €29,000)
- Spain – 11,810 ECVs, or 0.9% of the 1.3 million cars sold in 2018 (GDP of €26,200)
Change in first quarter of 2019: diesel -17.9%, petrol +3.3%, electric +40.0%
[DATE 08/05/2019] In the first quarter of 2019, nearly 60% of all new passenger cars registered across the EU ran on petrol, while less than one third was fuelled by diesel.
All alternatively-powered cars combined accounted for 8.5% of the EU market, with electrically-chargeable vehicles (ECV) accounting for 2.5% of all cars sold in the region during the first quarter of this year.
Petrol and diesel cars
With the exception of Germany, demand for petrol cars increased in the five largest EU car markets, with Italy posting the highest percentage gain (+21.6%). As a result, petrol’s market share increased from 55.5% to 59.3% in the first quarter of 2019.
On the other hand, diesel car registrations contracted in most EU member states except Germany, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The share of diesel cars in the market fell by almost 6 points compared to the same quarter one year ago, now accounting for 32.2% of the market.
Alternatively-powered vehicles (APV)
In the first quarter of 2019, demand for alternatively-powered cars in the European Union increased by 25.9%. Growth was driven by the electrically-chargeable vehicle segment, up 40.0% with 99,174 units registered. Within this segment, battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales grew substantially (+84.4%), while registrations of plug-in hybrids remained practically flat. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) also performed well (+33.3%), totalling 184,808 units sold during the first three months of the year. By contrast, registrations of LPG and NGV cars declined by 7.2% in the first quarter, mainly due to a sharp drop in demand for natural gas vehicles (NGV).
Alternatively-powered vehicle registrations significantly increased in all major EU markets. Demand for APV saw the highest percentage gains in Germany (+62.9%) – mainly due to a doubling of sales in the hybrid segment – as well as in Spain (+48.9%).
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, CNH Industrial, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.