Official European market: electric and plug-in hybrids overtook diesel in 2021

Have cars on plug, ie electric and plug-in hybrids, actually outperformed diesels in sales in Europe? According to some research firms such as Jato Dynamics o Schmidt Automotive Research, the overtaking took place in December and is scheduled for 2022. However, the official data provided by Acea and processed by Quattroruote (the association indicates only the percentages relating to the European Union and not to the area from the EU and EFTA countries and the United Kingdom) show that 2021 is already to be considered a watershed year: in fact, rechargeable vehicles have reached a market share higher than that of diesel cars.

The numbers. In particular, last year the European market saw the registration of 1,218,360 battery-powered cars, 63.4% more than in 2020, for a share up from 6.23% to 10.34%. , while plug-in hybrids, equal to 1,045,022 (+ 68.5%), achieved a penetration of 8.87% (5.19% in 2020). Therefore, their aggregate share rises, within a year, from 11.42% to 19.21%: almost 2 percentage points more than diesel. Diesel cars, with 2,078,042 registrations and a decline of 33.1%, drop from 25.96% to 17.64%: a percentage that is very far from a few years ago, when diesel represented over 50% of registrations from the Old Continent. Generally speaking, the main fuel remains petrol, albeit in sharp decline: there are 4,756,897 registrations, 17.4% less than in 2020, while the share falls from 48.16% to 40.39%. Detached, but in marked growth, are the non-rechargeable hybrids, which go from 12.71% to 20.46% thanks to a + 58.5% (2,409,495 license plate units).

The quarter. The data for the last quarter, on the other hand, show a situation heavily penalized by the semiconductor crisis and by the decision of manufacturers to favor the sale of vehicles capable of lowering average fleet emissions, to avoid fines for exceeding Community limits. In the last three months of 2021, the only power supply range in positive territory is that of battery-powered cars: with a + 27.6% and 417,347 units, they rise from 9.65% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 15.98% and are almost 2 percentage points higher than diesels. In fact, diesel cars, registered in 384,518 units and penalized by a collapse of 51.9%, drop from 23.56% to 14.73%. The plug-in hybrids are substantially stable, losing 0.5% (267,308 units), but by virtue of the generalized decline in demand (-23%) they have risen from 7.92% to 10.24%. Similar trend for non-rechargeable hybrids: 533,358 registrations imply a decline of just 0.9% and an increase in penetration from 15.87% to 20.43%. Gasoline, with 941,535 number plates, suffered a decrease of 32.2% and went from 40.94% to 36.06%. In any case, both annual and quarterly data show that traditional technologies still represent more than 50% of the European market, but growth is concentrated on new electrified solutions.

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