The sale of electric vehicles (EV) in the European market has surpassed that of diesel cars for the first time ever, according to Financial Times preliminary estimates.
Across 18 European markets – including the UK – more than a fifth of vehicles sold were electric, while diesel cars slumped to less than 19 per cent.
In December, around 176,000 battery EVs were sold in Western Europe – an all-time record high and a 6 per cent increase on December 2020 levels – while European car makers sold 160,000 diesel cars, the Financial Times reported.
According to Daniel Clarke, automotive analyst at GlobalData, Europe should be galvanised by today’s news.
” Europe has historically been home to a number of dominant players in petrol and diesel car industry, but today’s news should galvanise EU carmakers to further boost their EV credentials,” he told City A.M.
“There has been a clear focus on the demand-side, with incentives, infrastructure and charging stations, however, much more focus should be given to the supply side, specifically ensuring that the EU is not dependent on China for batteries or battery metals.”
In Europe the diesel car market has steadily gone down since 2015, when Volkswagen was found guilty of having cheated on diesel emission tests.
“The diesel death march has been playing on repeat since September 2015 when ‘Dieselgate’ was first unveiled — causing VW to draw up the first plans of the ID.3 within 30 days of the scandal coming to light,” auto analyst Matthias Schmidt told the outlet.
Despite ‘Dieselgate’, Volkswagen has sold worldwide 452,9000 battery-electric vehicles, going up 96 per cent on 2020 levels. In Western Europe, EVs accounted for 10.5 per cent of the group’s total deliveries.
“Figures for 2021 show how the Volkswagen Group’s business model is changing,” commented Volkswagen Group’s head of sales Christian Dahlheim.
“The sources of income will progressively shift further from conventional petrol engines to zero-emissions electric cars and from sales of vehicles to software and mobility services, underpinned by the key technology of autonomous driving.”