15 jan 20

Europe to overtake China as biggest EV market in 2021

It may sound strange, but the number of electric vehicles (both battery electric and plug-in hybrids) sold globally last year was actually lower than the year before. The problem is to be found in China (-19%) and the USA (-15%), where the rollback of subvention schemes for EVs has caused a serious cooldown.

At the same time, Europe posted a significant growth in BEV and PHEV sales last year, i.e. +27%. That is not enough to compensate for the losses registered across the Atlantic and in the People’s Republic or to claim the throne, but with the 95g target hanging like the sword of Damocles over OEMs selling cars in the EU, this growth is expected to accelerate.

Europe takes the lead

In 2019, China’s EV market share increased from 4.5 to 4.7% despite a significant trimming of incentives from July. The EV market share increase comes amidst an 8.4% fall in sales of ICE vehicles (26.82 million in 2018 to 24.56 million in 2019), with EV sales remaining relatively unscathed (1.21 million, coming from 1.26 million), reports Clean Technica.

The Chinese government expect fossil vehicles sales to continue to fall in 2020, but also that EV sales will remain steady thanks to a stable incentive environment and the fact that Tesla has opened its local Gigafactory, making the cars less expensive for the Chinese public.

Still, a report by BloombergNEF predicts that Europe will become the largest market for electrified vehicles in the coming years as OEMs and governments push hard to reduce CO2 emissions. In this report entitled "EVs and New Mobility: Trends to Watch in 2020," BNEF estimates that global car companies will sell about 2.5 million electric vehicles this year, i.e. 20% more than in 2019.

800,000 in 2020

Some 800,000 of them will be sold in Europe, where groups like VW will play an important role. That's an increase of 60% over 2019. As battery prices come down, the number of affordable electric models will increase from 2020 onwards.

Playing an important part in the uptake of EVs is charging infrastructure. Public chargers should hit the 1.2 million mark this year, up from some 880,000 in 2019.

Post 2020, the old Continent will probably take the EV sales crown from China - unless the local government changes its mind again and reintroduces financial stimuli.

Authored by: Dieter Quartier