Pandemic boosts electric car sales in Europe and triples market share
Electric vehicle sales are to roughly double this year to one million units, a study by the NGO Transport & Environment showed
Electric vehicles made up 8 per cent of car sales in Europe in the first half of 2020, putting them on track to triple their market share this year, according to analysis by the NGO Transport & Environment (T&E).
While the novel coronavirus pandemic has seen overall car sales plummet, sales of electric cars - which T&E defined as both battery and plug-in hybrid models - have increased.
This saw electric cars more than triple their market share in the European Economic Area (EEA), compared with the first half of last year, T&E said.
Outright sales of such vehicles are expected to roughly double this year, to one million units, it said.
T&E attributed the sales increase to tougher EU car emissions standards, which took effect this year, and post-pandemic purchase incentives in Germany and France.
The NGO expects carmakers to meet the 2020 emissions standards, which would see electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles triple their market share in 2020 to 10 per cent of EEA car sales.
"It is because of the EU emissions standards, but it is also thanks to many investments carmakers made last year," report co-author Julia Poliscanova said.
The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) said electric vehicle sales have been boosted by national support schemes to foster economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic but that this trend was not necessarily a long-term one.
"It is difficult to make any predictions on future long-term shifts in consumer behaviour from such 'artificial' growth driven by subsidies," ACEA said.
T&E urged the EU to set tougher future emissions targets to ensure electric vehicles keep edging out polluting models.
Fuel-guzzling SUVs also increased their market share, to 39 per cent, in the first half of 2020.
The European Commission has already outlined plans to further tighten car CO2 limits as part of its proposal for a tougher 2030 EU climate goal.
ACEA said policymakers needed to strengthen charging infrastructure and schemes to make zero-emissions vehicles affordable before considering tighter CO2 standards.
Updated: October 12, 2020 09:55 PM