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Sales of electric cars charge ahead in Europe

Sales of hybrids cannot be recharged from power mains also more than tripled

By AFP - Jul 24,2021 - Last updated at Jul 24,2021

In this file photo taken on June 8, employees work on the assembly line for the Volkswagen ID 3 electric car of German carmaker Volkswagen, at the 'Glassy Manufactory' (Glaeserne Manufaktur) production site in Dresden, eastern Germany (AFP photo)

PARIS — Electric cars — key to reducing emissions and meeting climate change goals — have boosted their market share in Europe, data showed on Friday, as the region prepares to abandon petrol and diesel.

Battery electric vehicles more than doubled their share of new car sales in Europe in the second quarter, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) which groups together major car firms.

All-electric vehicles accounted for 7.5 per cent of new car sales in Europe in the three months from April through June, against 3.5 per cent during that period last year.

In absolute terms, sales of battery electric vehicles more than tripled across Europe to reach 210,298 cars.

The ACEA said there were substantial gains in the region's top four markets, led by sales more than quadrupling in Spain and Germany.

The publication of the data comes a week after the European Commission unveiled plans for what amounts to an effective ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2035.

It believes such a move is necessary for Europe to meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by mid-century and meet its goals under the 2015 Paris accord that aims to limit the global rise in temperatures.

The ACEA also found sales jumped of different types of hybrid vehicles, which are seen by some as a transitional technology as they can reduce emissions from standard petrol or diesel vehicles. 

"Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles had an even more impressive second quarter of 2021, with registrations jumping by 255.8 per cent to 235,730 units," said the ACEA. That took their market share to 8.4 per cent.


Slump in petrol cars 


Sales of hybrids which cannot be recharged from power mains also more than tripled to 541,162 vehicles, remaining the largest category of alternatively-powered cars with a 19.3 per cent market share. 

Meanwhile, registrations of new petrol and diesel vehicles increased given the low number of vehicles sold in the second quarter last year, when many European countries had severe restrictions on businesses due to the pandemic.

But in terms of market share, which shows the relative weight of the current choices being made by consumers, both petrol and diesel saw huge drops.

Diesel saw its market share plunge to 20.4 per cent from 29.4 per cent. 

Petrol, which still claimed a majority of sales in the second quarter of last year with a 51.9 per cent of market share, saw a bigger slump to 41.8 per cent.

The data also comes as a growing number of automakers are unveiling their plans to shift to all-electric vehicles as policymakers indicate the days of internal combustion engines are numbered.

Daimler was the latest, announcing on Thursday that from 2025 it would introduce only electric new car platforms as it prepares to be ready to make a complete shift by 2030.

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