New registrations of cars and electric cars

    Electromobility: Europe becomes world’s largest market

    Due to stringent regulations and state incentives, the number of new registrations of electric passenger cars rose to 1.368 million vehicles. As a result, Europe overtook China as the largest e-market last year.

    Due to stringent regulations and state incentives, the number of new registrations of electric passenger cars rose to 1.368 million vehicles. As a result, Europe overtook China as the largest e-market last year.

    Europe world’s largest electric car market in 2020

    In 2020, e-mobility achieved its breakthrough in Europe (EU incl. UK+EFTA). New registrations of electric passenger cars rose by 143% to 1.368 million vehicles. As a result, Europe overtook China as the largest e-market last year. There are two main reasons for this boom. Firstly, in 2020, the phasing-in of CO2 limits was applied in Europe, requiring an average CO2 emission of 95 g/km across 95% of the manufacturer's fleet. This very demanding limit has ensured that the share of EVs in Europe has more than tripled to 11.4%. Secondly, most of the countries have generous subsidies for the purchase and ownership of EVs. In view of the tightening of the CO2 limit to 95 g for the entire new vehicle fleet in 2021, developments will continue to expand at a rapid rate through 2021.

    High market penetration in northern Europe

    Last year, Germany overtook the USA with 395,000 newly registered EVs (+263%) and took second place behind China. In Germany, the environmental incentive, which the government doubled in June 2020, led to a boom in the second half of the year; the share of EVs reached 13.5% for the year as a whole. In France, too, new registrations more than doubled to 186,000 units, while momentum was somewhat slower in the UK (+143% to 177,000 vehicles).

    In the pioneering market of Norway, the share of electric vehicles in new registrations has already reached 75%, so that growth appears rather subdued by comparison, with an increase of one-third to 106,000 EVs. Other European markets with a high EV market penetration are mainly found in northern Europe: Iceland (45%), Sweden (32%), the Netherlands (25%), Finland (18%), and Denmark (16%). E-mobility still has room for improvement in most southern and eastern European countries, where it ranges from around 5% (Spain) to just under 2% (Poland and Bulgaria). Portugal is an exception, here, with 13.5%. 

     

    2020: China turns the tide, while the USA stagnates

    In China, new registrations of e-cars rose by 15% in 2020 to 1.246 million passenger cars, corresponding to a market share of 6.3%. The second half of the year more than countered the decline seen at the beginning of the year due to the pandemic. The high incentives of the previous years were halved in mid-2019, depending on battery range, but have only been cautiously retracted since then. In 2021, there are indications that EV sales growth rates will pick up again significantly. In the USA, the per-manufacturer quota subsidy has led to a 6% drop in electric light-vehicle sales to 303,000 units, and the share of EVs on the overall market has been languishing at 2.1%. The EV market in the U.S. also picked up again in the first quarter of 2021.

    Alexander Fritz
    Economic Intelligence

    Alexander Fritz

    Automotive forecasts, production and export statistics, CO2 emissions, electromobility, structural analyses

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