23 Nov 17

Q3 sees 51.4% rise in alternative fuel vehicle sales

With a total of 211,635 units, Europeans bought 51.4 percent more alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) in Q3 compared to the third quartier of last year. Today, they represent over 6.2 percent of all new car registrations according to ACEA. Electrically chargeable vehicles (ECVs, i.e. plug-in hybrids and full-electric cars) made up for 1.6 percent of the new car market - an increase of 55.3 percent.

The non-plug-in (conventional) hybrid (HEVs) segment is growing even faster: cars like the Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Niro and Toyota Prius contributed to a 60 percent surge. Remarkably, LPG vehicles (liquefied petroleum gas), too, seem more popular than ever, with 38.1 percent more vehicles sold. CNG (compressed natural gas) posts a more modest growth: 12.9 percent.  

Spain nearly doubles, Italy lags behind

Amongst the 5 largest markets in the European Union, especially Germany and Spain are contributing to the success of AFVs. Registrations nearly doubled in the latter (+90.7 percent), but impressive as this percentage may be, they are coming from a low base. That applies to a lesser extent to the former (+82.7 percent), where especially ECVs are thriving.

The UK also pulls its weight in terms of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which represent the majority of AFVs sold across the Channel. In total, 48.2 percent more Brits opted for alternative fuels compared to last year. A similar situation can be seen in France, with an increase of 47.9 percent. 

The European top 5 market that is least eager to swtich to alternative, is Italy. The number of AFVs sold increased by just 33.3 percent. ECVs are anything but common on Italian roads, the reasons being that there is no subvention scheme for electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids on the one hand, and the fact that the charging infrastructure is nearly non-existant.

The Dutch love electric

As a result of the benefit in kind taxation in the Netherlands, plug-in hybrids have fallen from grace, whereas full-electric vehicles have the wind in their sails. Compared to Q3 2016, the Dutch registered 137 percent more electric vehicles (2,413 vs 1,018). By way of comparison, the 8 times bigger German market went up from 3,321 to 6,244 units.

Equally contributing to the success of EVs in the Netherlands is the fact that the charging network today already comprises over 30,000 public and semi-public stations. According to a recent study by Eindhoven university, there will be 3 million EVs on Dutch roads by 2030. From that year on, new EV sales will represent 88 percent of the total market.

Picture copyright: Hyundai, 2017


Authored by: Dieter Quartier