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Sales of electrically chargeable vehicles in EU grow 51.8%
Sales of electrically chargeable vehicles (ECVs) jumped 51.8% year on year (y/y), to 110,630 units, in the European Union (EU) during the third quarter ended 30 September 2019, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) announced in a press release on 7 November. During the quarter, ECVs made up 3.1% of total new car sales across the region. Within this segment, battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales grew substantially by 126.3% y/y, while registrations of plug-in hybrids declined 7.6% y/y. Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) sales increased 47% y/y, to 223,868 units, during the three-month period.
Sales of cars powered by ethanol (E85), liquified petroleum gas (LPG), and natural gas (NGV) increased 36% y/y in the third quarter. In total, alternatively powered cars combined accounted for 8.5% of the EU market, with plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) accounting for 2.5% of all cars sold in the region during the first quarter of this year.
In internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, sales of diesel cars saw a massive drop of 14.1% y/y, and the share of diesel cars fell below 30% y/y. Four of the five largest EU markets recorded double-digit declines, with Spanish diesel sales dropping 34.7%, Italian demand contracting 24.5%, UK sales down 20.8%, and French demand falling 12.6%. Germany, however, recorded a modest increase of 4.7% last quarter. Sales of petrol vehicles grew 6.1% y/y, taking their total share to 59.5% of all cars sold in Europe during the quarter.
Significance: The ACEA had recently released results of a study that suggested that sales in Western European countries are growing faster than in Eastern countries. The trend was seen during the third quarter as well. Germany posted the highest percentage gain in ECV sales of 71.4% y/y, to 26,858 units, boosted by strong demand for BEVs and HEVs, followed by the UK (46.5% y/y, to 21,001), France (35.7% y/y, to 13,333 units), Spain (31.9% y/y, to 3,491 units), and Italy (28.6% y/y, to 4,216 units). To continue the momentum toward electrified vehicles, many of the European Union (EU) member states, automakers, component makers, charging infrastructure players, and other stakeholders have together, and individually, taken a number of initiatives to develop a conducive ecosystem for electromobility.
ACEA had also released its first edition of its annual report on progress of zero-emission mobility in the EU. Based on the findings of the report, automakers have urged the EU to ramp up the charging and refueling infrastructure and provide purchase incentives for EVs to stimulate sales and help achieve the emissions goals. The current number of charging points is far lower than what is required. According to conservative estimates by the European Commission, at least 2.8 million charging points will be needed by 2030. That is a 20-fold increase within the next 12 years. Automakers have also called for better and uniform distribution of charging infrastructure across the region. At present, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and the UK, which cover 27% of the EU's total surface area, account for 76% of all ECV charging points in the EU.
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