3 Sep 20

Fuelled by PHEVs, EVs gain market share in Europe

In the second quarter of 2020, the market share of electrically-chargeable vehicles increased to 7.2% of total EU car sales, predominantly thanks to strong PHEV sales. In spite of a decline in sales, petrol remained the market-leading fuel type, reports ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.


From April to June 2020, registrations of electrically-chargeable vehicles rose by 53.3% to 129,344 new cars across the EU. As a result, the overall market share of this segment went from 2.4% in 2019 to 7.2% in the second quarter of 2020. Sales of plug-in hybrids increased more strongly (+133.9%) with 66,128 new cars. Battery-electric vehicles saw their sales numbers go up more modestly (+12.7%), totalling 63,216 units.

Hybrid-electric vehicles (of the non plug-in kind) declined slightly (-7.2%) but they still remained the bestselling alternatively-powered vehicle type in the European Union, accounting for 172,149 units registered in total and representing 9.6% of the EU car market.

Lockdowns due to coronavirus and government incentives may have played a part in the increasing electric-vehicle market share, but manufacturers may have had higher hopes for the battery-electric segment to reduce the CO2 output of their fleets.

Petrol and diesel

Passenger cars with conventional internal combustion engines took the biggest hit from the coronavirus crisis during the second quarter, with sales falling by more than half across the EU. The number of diesel cars registered fell by 53.4% to 526,645 units, giving them a market share of 29.4%, down from 32% in 2019.

Petrol sales posted similar declines (-55.0%), going from over 2 million units last year to 929,309 in the second quarter of this year. All EU markets recorded strong double-digit drops. Looking at the four major EU markets, however, the differences were significant, with petrol sales during the three-month period down by 72.9% in Spain and 48.8% in France.


Sales of cars running on ethanol (E85), liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas (NGV) halved from April to June this year (-50.5%), mainly due to a strong contraction of the Italian market, which is the biggest one for these fuel types. With 34,656 units sold over the period, alternative fuels held a market share of 1.9%% during the second quarter.

All alternatively-powered vehicles combined represented 18.7% of the EU car market or 1.1% less than in 2019 (335,906 units sold from April to June 2020). Among the four major markets, France and Germany posted positive results (+51.1% and +20.6% respectively), mainly driven by sales of plug-in hybrids. By contrast, both Spain (-46.2%) and Italy (-30.2%) saw sharp declines in the second quarter, owing to the negative performance of the hybrid and LPG segments.

A final note: these numbers no longer include the UK. For year-on-year comparisons, historical data are recalculated to adjust to the new EU27 perimeter.

Image copyright: Shutterstock

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck