Pan-European industry data shows that only one sector of the auto market saw growth in the first month of 2020, compared to January 2019. Overall electric vehicle registrations surged by 72 per cent year-on-year while, at the same time, the total volume of new vehicle registrations dropped. With new rules about to kick in for company car taxation, movement by the government on subsidies as well as changes in selling prices, WhichEV predicts an intriguing second quarter for 2020.
Electric vehicles were the sole driver of growth for new registrations in January, posting record numbers for volume and market share. This is due to increasing incentives for EV drivers, greater awareness of the benefits of EVs and growing concern over diesel and petrol cars – according to research by Jato Dynamics, an automotive analytics company. Across the region, pure EV registrations went up by 91%.
Felipe Munoz, global analyst at Jato, said the European automotive market showed signs of strength in January, “This is exemplified by the increase of EV registrations, which was a lifeline for many OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in January. Only two years ago not many in the industry would have predicted such high levels of demand for EVs”, he said.
Across Europe, the market share of EVs has now grown from 7.1% to more than 13% in just one year. If the pattern of 150,000 EVs being registered in January were to be replicated for the remainder of 2020, that would make a total of 1.8 million. In all likelihood, the rate of adoption will increase. At the same time diesel and gasoline car registrations dropped by 17 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
There was growth for all forms of electric car but, for the first time ever, basic hybrids accounted for less than half of the overall EV registrations. Hybrids went up 36%, while plug-in hybrid sales almost doubled.
“Europe demonstrated that the widespread adoption of EVs is increasingly feasible and will become a likely reality once the cars become more affordable,” said Munoz.
|European Battery EV Sales Jan 2020||Audi e-tron||2,102|
|Renault Zoe||9,522||Hyundai Kona EV||2,126|
|Peugeot 208 EV||3,889||BMW i3||1,737|
|VW e-Golf||3,234||Tesla Model 3||1,517|
|Nissan Leaf||3,054||Kia Niro EV||1,310|
Across Europe, Norway is the EV leader by quite some margin, with a whopping 77% of all new cars registered in January using electricity in some form. Strange when you consider that Norway is the biggest European oil producer outside of Russia.
In the UK, EVs accounted for 14 per cent of all new passenger vehicles.
SUVs increased their market share against the overall drop in registrations, but Munoz believes that they will struggle without adapting to the new market demands. “SUVs continue to gain traction. However, manufacturers need to produce more EV models if they want to keep up the momentum of growth moving forward”, he explained.
Changes in prices at the pump have left some people wondering if the benefits are still there for an EV.
If all the possible savings from the oil price war between Russian and Saudi Arabia were passed to the UK driver (highly unlikely), then filling an average car would drop from £68 down to around £63. Most electric cars can be fully recharged at home for less than £10 and in the centre of a city for less than £20.
EV manufacturers continue to integrate smart new entertainment and safety features, increasing the arguments in favour of moving away from fossil fuels.