Sales of electric vehicles increased by 60.6 per cent in the European Union in July, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Total new car registrations jumped 15.2 per cent to 851,156 in July, the 12th consecutive month of growth as manufacturers recover from pandemic-related supply chain issues, the ACEA said.
Full EVs made up 13.6 per cent of all new car sales, while plug-in hybrids, which have both a combustion engine and a large battery, accounted for 7.9 per cent.
A number of European Union countries subsidise EV sales, although some, such as Germany, have recently reduced or phased out incentives.
Between January and July this year, most European car markets saw double-digit sales growth, including Spain (21.9 per cent), Italy (20.9 per cent), France (15.8 per cent), and Germany (13.6 per cent).
Petrol car sales in the EU were up 5 per cent at 304,903 in July, but their market share fell from 39.3 per cent to 35.8 per cent, the ACEA said.
However, sales of diesel vehicles fell 9.1 per cent, despite strong growth in Slovakia and Romania where they grew 36.1 per cent and 19.8 per cent respectively.
Overall, diesel cars now account for a market share of 14.1 per cent, down from 17.9 per cent in July last year.
Europe's largest car maker, Volkswagen, saw a 17.9 per cent increase in sales in July, while BMW and Renault saw sales rises of 22.5 per cent and 16.9 per cent respectively.
But Fiat and Peugeot maker Stellantis, which continues to be hampered by logistics problems, parked a 6.1 per cent fall in sales in July, the ACEA said.
UK car exports boom
Meanwhile, the number of cars built in the UK in July rose by 31.6 per cent to 76,451 units, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Exports increased by more than a third (36.1 per cent) to 63,264, while the number of cars manufactured for the UK market rose by 13.7 per cent to 13,187.
While UK carmakers have continued to recover from recent difficulties, including global chip shortages, output was still 29.4 per cent lower than in July 2019, before the Covid pandemic, the SMMT said.
Nonetheless, July was the sixth consecutive month of production growth, with exports accounting for 82.8 per cent of the total.
The top export markets were the EU, the US, China, Japan and Australia.
Two out of every five cars built in the UK in July were either high-tech hybrid electric (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) or battery electric vehicles (BEV). More than 30,000 of these models were made, a 74 per cent increase on July last year.
“Six months of growth shows that British car production is recovering and, with electrified models increasingly driving volumes, the future is more positive,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
“Recent investment announcements have undoubtedly bolstered the sector but global competition remains tough.
“If we are to attract further investment and produce the next generation of zero-emission models and technologies, we need a coherent strategy that builds on our strengths and supports all aspects of advanced automotive manufacturing.”
The latest independent production outlook points to UK car production reaching about 860,000 units this year, which would be an 11 per cent increase on 2022, with the possibility that production will return to a million vehicles manufactured annually by 2028.