12 Nov 18

Europe's appetite for electric and hybrid intensifies in Q3

Diesel fuel cost and taxation are on the rise, and so are CO2 emissions now that WLTP is starting to take effect. At the same time, hybrid and electric models are mushrooming in the heart of the fleet sector. That explains why compared to Q3 2017, demand for alternatively-powered vehicles (AFV) in the EU increased by 29.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.
According to ACEA figures, the biggest rise is to be found in the battery electric vehicle (BEV) segment, which grew by 37.4 per cent. Hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations augmented by 37.1 and 24.5 per cent, respectively. Demand for LPG and CNG vehicles increased by 11.8 per cent.
APV registrations saw the highest percentage gains in Spain (+62.5 per cent) – thanks to a notable uplift in the LPG and CNG segments – and Germany (+51.4 per cent). To put things in perspective: all APVs combined accounted for 7.8 per cent of the market, and just 2 per cent of cars registered across the EU during the third quarter of 2018 was electrically-chargeable (BEV or PHEV).

Appetite for electric

Of the 6 biggest markets, Italy grew the biggest appetite for EVs in Q3: it more than trebled its e-sales but coming from just 430 units in the third quarter of 2017, that is not an incredible feat. The Netherlands keep picking up speed, going from nearly 2,400 to over 5,800 units in the same quarter.

Germany posted a 17 per cent increase in Q3, but still achieves +49.5 percent YTD. France is underperforming with a modest 11.8 per cent in Q3 and just 7.8 per cent YTD. With 4.3 per cent, Spain lags behind in Q3, but still manages to post +44.1 per cent YTD. Brexit uncertainty decelerated the UK’s EV momentum to 1.3 per cent YTD and 11.2 per cent looking at Q3. With over 11,000 electric cars sold since January, the British remain the fourth most eager e-adopters in the EU.

Hybrids are a hype

Hybrids with an externally chargeable battery (PHEVs) are very en vogue in Denmark since the beginning of 2018, going from just 170 YTD2017 units to 1,646 units this year. Italy is also increasingly fond of PHEVs, posting a 74.1 per cent increase. Germany did 25.2 per cent better than last year, Spain +82 per cent, France +39.5 per cent and the UK +30.7 per cent. In total, the PHEV market grew by 41 per cent.

Hybrid (HEV) sales performed nearly as well, with a 37.1 per cent increase over Q1-Q3 2017. Here, Germany is the fastest grower in the EU6, posting +79 per cent. The UK is at +21.7 per cent, France at +33 per cent, Italy at +31.5 per cent and Spain at +38.9 per cent. That irrefutably means that Toyota and Lexus are doing well in Europe, with models like the C-HR, Auris (soon Corolla), RAV4 and Prius. Hyundai and KIA are following the Japanese lead with the Ioniq and Niro Hybrid.

Diesel still declining

Between June 1st and September 30th, 2018, almost 58 per cent of all new passenger cars sold in the EU were powered by a petrol engine, while roughly one third was fuelled by diesel. That means that petrol’s market share increased by almost 7 percentage points compared to the third quarter of 2017.

Diesel still hasn’t reached the end of the tunnel yet in most of the EU countries – except in Denmark, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland, where it stands its ground or even improves over 2017. The share of diesel cars fell from 43.1 to 34.7 per cent compared to the same quarter one year ago. Diesel is now really losing its ground in the UK, posting a -33.9 decrease in Q3. After keeping strong for a very long time, Italy too is starting to have doubts about the fuel’s future, posting a 16.7 per cent loss.

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Pictured: Kia NIro Hybrid
Authored by: Dieter Quartier